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.




Special Interests Before Taxpayers

For many years, the Government Accountability Office and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of the Inspector General have issued report after report pointing out that Medicare pays too much for durable medical equipment (DME).  DME includes walkers, wheelchairs, and portable oxygen equipment.  Unfortunately for taxpayers, Medicare’s fee schedule is not based on competitive market prices.

Deadly Earmarks

Earmarks can be deadly, according to Air Force Reserve Maj. Eric Egland.  Egland, a counter-terrorism operative, military intelligence officer and Iraq War veteran, wrote an opinion piece in The Washington Times on July 2 asserting that national security earmarks are being abused, with disastrous consequences.

Earmark Disclosure: Slow but Steady

“Will you disclose the earmarks that you have requested, Representative?"

Spratt Flip-Flops on Line-Item Veto

Rep. John Spratt (D-S.C.) chose politics over pork-busting when he switched his vote on the line-item veto bill in June.  The ranking Democrat on the House Budget Committee dutifully followed the partisan orders of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to vote against any Republican budget reform, even one that is proven to save taxpayer money and that Spratt had been a high-profile sponsor of in the past.

A Challenge That Should Not Be Met

Six years ago, President Bush called for the establishment of the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), “a new compact for global development defined by new accountability for both rich and poor nations alike.”

Deepwater in Hot Water

The Coast Guard’s air and sea fleet are aging, with most of the fleet dating back to the 1950s and 1960s.  Responding to the need to update the fleet and react to a shifting threat, the Coast Guard created the Integrated Deepwater System in 2002, which, according to the Coast Guard’s website is “a critical multi-year program to modernize and replace the Coast Guard’s aging ships and aircraft, and improve command and control and logistics systems.  It is the largest acquisition in the history of the Coast Guard.  Integrated Coast Guard Systems has been managing the IDS contract since it was awarded in June, 2002.”  However, there are serious concerns with the procurement of aircraft and the National Security Cutter.

Department of Defense and Lavish Expenditures

What do earmarks for $10 million for the National World War Two Museum in New Orleans, $18 million for a chapel in Fort Hood, and $5 million for a fence near San Diego have in common?  The House of Representatives deemed them to be important enough to include as earmarks in the committee report on H.R. 5658, the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2009.

Un-FIT!?

In April, House Republican Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) announced that the House Republican Policy Committee had created the “Fiscal Integrity Task Force (FIT).”  Taxpayer groups in Washington were elated.  Finally, Republicans in Congress were rediscovering their fiscal soul.  The goal of the FIT, according to Rep. Boehner, is “to put fiscal integrity into government budgeting, taxing, and spending, and to demand that Congress run the federal government like a family budget.”

Federal Government – The Ideal Tenant?

Apparently, the federal government has an aversion to commitment, at least in terms of property.  According to a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report released on January 24, 2008, for the first time in history the federal government is predicted to lease more property than it owns.  Based upon information gathered from the General Services Administration (GSA), which handles many of the government’s leases, from 2003 to 2006, federally-leased space increased from 160 million square feet to 172 million square feet; conversely, federally-owned space decreased from 180 million square feet to 174 million square feet.

“Emergency” Supplementals

“Hope for the best, but plan for the worst” is the approach most Americans try to take when it comes to setting aside funds for a rainy day.  For the government, however, national emergencies, and the supplemental appropriations bills that tend to accompany these emergencies, have become just another excuse to spend money on non-emergency, routine projects and favored pork-barrel items that failed to win funding through the normal appropriations process.

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