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.




The FDA Should Pave the Way to Tobacco Harm Reduction

Passage of the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act (TCA) in June 2009 gave the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulatory control over tobacco products.  The purpose of the TCA, as stated in the bill’s report language, was to permit the FDA “to restrict the sale and distribution of tobacco products, including advertising and promotion” and to “take specified actions, including public notification and recall, against unreasonably harmful products.”  The law also required the FDA “to establish tobacco product standards to protect the public health” but prohibited the agency from "banning all cigarettes, all smokeless tobacco products, all little cigars, all cigars other than little cigars, all pipe tobacco, or all roll-your-own tobacco products," or "requiring the reduction of nicotine yields of a tobacco product to zero."  Notably, the law also set forth standards for the sale of "modified-risk tobacco products.”

The Cuba Embargo: A Personal Observation

In June, 2017, representatives from a handful of right-leaning organizations, including Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW), participated in a “people-to-people” delegation to Cuba.  The “educational outreach” trip was arranged by Engage Cuba, “the leading coalition of private companies and organizations working to end the travel and trade embargo on Cuba,” in conjunction with Cuba Educational Travel (CET).  Based in Naragansett, Rhode Island, CET is the tour facilitator that has been awarded the necessary licenses from the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control “to organize trips to Cuba in full compliance with rules and regulations governing travel to Cuba by individuals under U.S. jurisdiction.”

Wasteful Spending by Hospitals Increased Under Obamacare

In 1998, Citizens Against Government Waste releasedAre You Getting Your Money’s Worth from Nonprofit Hospitals?which analyzed the level of charity care nonprofit hospitals were providing to their local communities as a requirement under their tax exemptions.  The report found that for-profit and nonprofit hospitals are not much different in terms of the charity they provide to their respective communities.  The only difference is that taxpayers are subsidizing the nonprofits.

USPS: Carrying Water (Not Mail) for Secretary Clinton

On July 19, 2017, the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs (HSGAC) held a hearing titled, “The Postal Service’s Actions During the 2016 Campaign Season:  Implications for the Hatch Act.”  During testimony from both the United States Postal Service’s (USPS) Office of the Inspector General (OIG) and the Office of Special Counsel (OSC), it was revealed that the USPS violated federal law, the Hatch Act, during the 2016 campaign cycle.

They Were for It Before They Were Against It

Healthcare reform is not going well for the Republicans, even though they have called for the repeal of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), better known as Obamacare, since the legislation was signed into law in 2010.  Republicans have had seven years to write, debate, and agree to a plan to repeal Obamacare and replace it with something.  They promised to repeal ACA for every election since 2010 and as a result, retook the House of Representatives, the Senate, and the Presidency.

Time to Move Forward and Pass an Alternative to Obamacare

Today, the Senate leadership released their revisions to H.R. 1628, the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA) and there are some important changes.  Whether the new language will be enough to garner the votes needed to pass a bill remains to be seen.  Importantly, the legislation continues to eliminate many of the onerous taxes and provides relief from the mandates contained in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), or Obamacare, and reforms Medicaid.  The Council for Citizens Against Government Waste announced its support today for the legislation.

A Day of Uniform, Uninformed Activity

The "net neutrality" proponents are at it again, plotting to slog up the internet with a “Day of Action” on July 12, 2017.  Similar activity occurred in 2012 in response to legislation regarding online piracy.  Since that legislation was abandoned by Congress, these same agitators believe they will have success in shutting down the Restoring Internet Freedom Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) (WC Docket No. 17-108) currently in process at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) by inundating the agency and Congress with a high volume of comments against the proposed rule.

Waste in the State Department

Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) has detailed the federal government’s failure to keep up with modernizing technology for decades. As far back as 1984, the Grace Commission found that the federal government’s computer systems were outdated and incompatible, and much more needed to be done to upgrade and improve the efficiency of federal information technology (IT). Yet, federal agencies continue to waste taxpayer dollars on IT systems that are either antiquated or fail to deliver. 

They’re Ba-ack! Congress Returns

With apologies to Poltergeist, the Congress returns this week from its Independence Day break.  All eyes are on the Senate as the country wonders if the Republicans can come together and pass healthcare legislation that will stabilize the individual health insurance market that has been devastated by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), or Obamacare.

Senate Delay on Obamacare Repeal is a Pothole in the Road

On June 27, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) announced there would be no vote on the Senate’s bill, H.R. 1628, the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA), to repeal and replace the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), or Obamacare, until after the Independence Day recess.  Capitol Hill staffers have said the delay is simply a “pothole in the road.”  In other words, while efforts have slowed down, the legislative process is moving forward.

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