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.




Step Back, Doors Closing: D.C.’s Subway Debacle

For anyone familiar with the subway system in Washington, D.C., the warning, “step back, doors closing,” alerts riders to the dangers of trying to beat the trains’ automatic doors, which are not as forgiving as those on elevators.  The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA), known as “Metro” to Washingtonians, first ran its trains in 1976.  It started out positively, but the system has fallen from grace after years of poor service and intermittent reliability, not to mention several fatal incidents, and riders are leaving the service at increasing rates.

FedRAMP Gets a ReVAMP

The need to modernize federal information technology (IT) is being taken seriously by the Trump administration.  One of the President’s early White House appointments was for Reed Cordish to become Assistant to the President for Intragovernmental and Technology Initiatives.  He has also created the White House Office of Innovation, headed by Senior Advisor Jared Kushner, and has met with more than 100 business leaders and government officials to discuss issues related to technology. 

Maryland's Boondoggle Inn

In July 2016, Frederick County (Maryland) Executive Jan Gardner introduced a bill that would increase the county’s hotel tax from 3 percent to 5 percent.  Despite denials from Gardner, State Senator Ron Young (D-District 3), State Delegate Karen Young (D-District 3), and State Delegate Carol Crimm (D-District 3) that the new tax revenue will not be used to fund certain aspects of a planned $84 million Downtown Frederick Hotel and Conference Center, that does not appear to true.  Part of the revenue generated from the hotel tax hike will pay down the $3.5 million in debt payments for the conference center over the course of a 25-year contract.

Pharmaceutical Transparency Legislation – Sounds Good but Foolhardy

Legislation to create “transparency” in drug costs has been introduced in dozens of state legislatures across the country, purportedly to understand how prescription drugs are priced.  While details vary from state to state, all the bills would require pharmaceutical manufacturers to provide reams of pricing and cost data, much of it proprietary, to state officials.  Often the bills will drag in other private-sector entities involved in pharmaceutical pricing negotiations, such as pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) and insurers.

New Bill Opens Discussion on Music Rights

On April 5, 2017, Reps. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) and Ted Deutch (D-Fla.) introduced H.R. 1914, the Performance Royalty Owners of Music Opportunity To Earn Act of 2017 (PROMOTE Act).  This legislation would grant sound recording copyright owners the exclusive right to prohibit the broadcast transmission of sound recordings by means of terrestrial radio stations.

Waste Abounds in the Land of the Midnight Sun

On Wednesday, April 5, 2017 the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Federal Lands held a hearing to consider the construction of a road linking the town of King Cove to Cold Bay, and the latter’s all-weather airport.  At issue is H.R.

Big Pharma DOES Negotiate Drug Prices

On March 7, 2017, President Trump tweeted he was "working on a new system where there will be competition in the Drug Industry.  Pricing for the American people will come way down."  The next day, in a meeting with Representatives Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) and Peter Welch (D-Vt.) , the president reiterated that he wanted to do something about U.S.

Restoring State Authority for Lifeline

In another sign of better times for taxpayers and consumers at the Federal Communications Commission, Chairman Ajit Pai is taking steps to address jurisdictional problems created by his predecessor, Tom Wheeler, regarding the Lifeline program. Citizens Against Government Waste has long reported on problems with the program, which is supposed to provide low-income households with subsidized telephone services and wireless services.

The Sky Is Clearing, Not Falling, on Internet Privacy

The hysteria and hyperbole about online privacy needs to stop following House passage of S. J. Res. 34, which invoked the Congressional Review Act (CRA) to rescind the Federal Communications Commission’s Privacy Order.

Obamacare Still Vulnerable to Fraud

Even before Congress failed to pass a repeal and replacement for the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), a November 2016 Government Accountability Office (GAO) report again exposed rampant and systematic fraud in the application process.

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