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.




We Won't Always Have Paris

Yesterday, President Donald Trump withdrew from the Paris Climate Treaty or, as it is often called, the Paris Accord.  He righted what has been a bone of contention since the agreement's birth at the Paris climate change meeting in November 2015.  Many senators and policy analysts have rightfully argued the climate agreement was a treaty and should have been submitted to the Senate for advice and consent, as the Constitution requires.  But, President Obama did not want to submit it to the Senate because he knew it would not be ratified.  Instead, he continued his executive overreach and implemented the policy illegally with his “pen and his phone.”  Chris Horner and Marlo Lewis of the Competitive Enterprise Institute discuss in their May 2017 report the serious legal and economic consequences to the U.S. if President Obama’s actions were not reversed.

That CBO Score for the American Health Care Act

All of Washington finally got what it had been waiting for since the beginning of May:  The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) score for H.R. 1628, the American Health Care Act (AHCA), which passed the House of Representatives on May 4, 2017, by a vote of 217 to 213.  As you will recall, ACHA is designed to repeal and replace Obamacare.  Now the bill will be sent to the Senate for consideration.

Setting the Internet Free

On May 18, 2017, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted by a 2-1 margin to open a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) on Restoring Internet Freedom (WC Docket 17-108).  The NPRM proposes to restore the internet to a Title I information services classification, a status that was stripped away by the February 26, 2015 Open Internet Order (OIO), under which former FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, following direct orders from President Obama, reclassified the internet as a Title II rotary dial telephone service. 

House Passes the American Health Care Act, Senate Up Next

On May 4, 2017, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 1628, the American Health Care Act (AHCA) by a vote of 217 to 213.  Only Republicans voted for the legislation; 20 Republicans and 193 Democrats voted no.  The final bill was a modified version of the legislation that the Republican leadership pulled from consideration in late March.  The Congressional Budget Office is expected to provide a score by the end of May.  From there, the bill is scheduled to move to the Senate for consideration, although that body appears to be prepared to write its own legislation.

HUD: Noble Motives, Fiscal Disaster

The stated mission of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is to “create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all.”  While that goal is laudable, the systemic dysfunction that permeates the department will prove to be a tough challenge for HUD Secretary Ben Carson.

Safeguarding Infrastructure Investment

As a candidate, President Trump pledged to invest in upgrading the country’s infrastructure.  While there is no formal plan to date from the White House, President Trump stated on May 1, 2017, that “If you have a job that you can't start within 90 days, we're not going to give you the money for it because it doesn't help. … We're going to be very strong on that.  They have to be able to start within 90 days.”

Making Unauthorized Spending Wrong Again

As President Donald J. Trump continues his campaign to “Make America Great Again,” Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) will borrow on that theme, as described in the title of this article, by continuing to advocate for reforms of the way that Congress does business.  One of the best efforts in this regard is H.R. 2174, Republican Conference Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers’ (R-Wash.) Unauthorized Spending Accountability (USA) Act, which she introduced on April 26, 2017.

Going Off the Rails in Texas

America’s first high-speed rail project could happen in Texas, where Houston and Dallas would be connected along a 240-mile stretch of railroad.  However, what Texas Central Partners (TCP) and other high speed rail advocates are calling the Texas Central Rail, CAGW considers a colossal waste of taxpayer dollars.

Making the Case for Dynamic Scoring

When Congress considers legislation to lower taxes, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) will be using dynamic scoring to help estimate its cost.  In 2015, Congress required CBO to use dynamic scoring on legislation with an impact of at least 0.25% of gross domestic product over the next 10 years (about $45 billion in 2015), or at the request of the Budget Committee chairman.

Another Tool to Modernize Federal IT

The federal government spends more than $80 billion annually on information technology (IT), with more than 75 percent of this spending used on operations and maintenance of existing legacy IT systems.  On May 17, 2017, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 2227, the Modernizing Government Technology Act of 2017 (MGT Act).

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