The WasteWatcher: The Staff Blog of Citizens Against Government Waste

The WasteWatcher

The WasteWatcher is the staff blog of Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) and the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste (CCAGW). For questions, contact blog@cagw.org.




“Cash for Clunkers” Comes to a Screeching Halt

This past June, Congress added $1 billion to the 2009 Supplemental Appropriations Act for the “Consumers Assistance to Recycle and Save Act of 2009”.  Though it had no business appearing in an emergency war funds bill, this “Cash for Clunkers” provision established a new one-year program administered through the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) that gave individuals with older, less fuel efficient cars a credit worth up to $4,500 towards the purchase of a new car that met certain fuel efficiency standards.

Update on CAGW’s FOIA Project

On May 29, 2009 Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) released a Wastewatcher describing the current status of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests that were released on May 12, 2009.  The purpose of the FOIA requests is to highlight whether or not money from the economic stimulus bill, also known as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), is going to benefit certain districts of members of Congress.

Will Obama’s IGs Be Blood Hounds or Lap Dogs?

Federal statutes currently allow for 69 inspectors general (IG) at all cabinet departments, large agencies and other designated federal entities.  These offices are charged with overseeing how tax dollars are spent.  Since they are, in effect, “first responders” to potential waste, fraud, and mismanagement within the government, IGs are granted broad powers to ensure a level of independence over those they are auditing or investigating.

Beach Houses: Owned By the Rich, Paid For By Everyone

Washington’s next fiscal giveaway: a bailout for wealthy homeowners living along risky, hurricane-prone coastlines.  Attempting to find a solution to rising homeowners’ insurance rates, the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations held a hearing on July 2, 2009 to discuss the Homeowners’ Defense Act as a possible solution.

PASS ID

In 2005, Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) put on a full court press to stop the implementation of the REAL ID Act.  After being attached to a supplemental appropriations bill and being voted on without hearings or any debate, REAL ID was going to be an expensive national ID card that would have put tax dollars and privacy at risk.  REAL ID was supposed to be implemented by the end of 2008.  Due to states opting out and logistical problems, that deadline has been pushed to the end of 2009, a date that is still impossible to meet.

Fahrenheit 451 Redux at the EPA

In legendary science fiction writer Ray Bradbury’s classic novel Fahrenheit 451, the government suppressed independent thought and analysis for the good of the people.  It was better to keep the populace ignorant of differing opinions than to challenge the status quo in the society described in that book.

Update on CAGW’s FOIA Project

On May 12, 2009 Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) undertook an ambitious project to find out if members of Congress were trying to influence how the funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), aka economic stimulus bill, were being spent.

A “Generic” Call for Change

As Congress braces for the largest reform of healthcare in the nation’s history, lost in the debate has been an issue critical to federal and state healthcare budgets, as well as the ability of consumers to afford lifesaving drugs.  The issue is whether Congress should grant generic makers of the next generation of medications called “biologics” the same regulatory approval treatment it did for chemical drugs under the 1984 Hatch-Waxman Act.

Public vs. Private: May the Best Contractor Win

The government should not compete with its citizens; it should rely on the private sector for commercially-available goods and services.  This is a common-sense idea: allow individuals, small businesses, and entrepreneurial companies to contract with the government, instead of creating duplicative and expensive government-run agencies and programs.

Obama’s $106 Billion War Supplemental

On April 9, 2009, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) released a summary of the administration’s proposed fiscal year 2009 Supplemental Appropriations Act, stating that it “is the last planned war supplemental.”  In the bill, President Obama sought $83.4 billion to fund “ongoing military, diplomatic, and intelligence operations.”  The OMB release stated that “the President will not tolerate it being turning into a vehicle for political projects.  He has made it very clear to Congress that he will not accept any earmarks in the bill – and he will not tolerate the bill being loaded up with unrelated items.  The era of irresponsibility is ending."

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