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.




Congressional Appropriators: Rating the “Third Party”

A practical reality of life on Capitol Hill can be summed up with a saying often attributed to Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.).  In his book, Worth the Fighting for, Sen. McCain writes that, “there are, it is often observed, three parties in Congress, Republicans, Democrats, and appropriators.”  Further explained by Barry Popik, a contributor to the Oxford English Dictionary (among others), the saying “means that ‘pork barrel’ spending is nonpartisan.”

The Jetsons and the Internet of Things

“The Jetsons” was only on television for one season, 55 years ago, but it produced a lasting impression about an interconnected future.  The show didn’t use the term “Internet of Things,” but much of what took place fits into today’s technology. 

Tech CEOs Step Up for Taxpayers

Today's meeting of the White House Office of American Innovation is being attended by 18 private sector technology experts, including the CEOs of some of the most innovative and successful companies in U.S. history. Their expertise is welcome and necessary.

Thornberry’s Attempt at Acquisition Reform

Over the past 15 years, the budget of the Department of Defense (DoD) has swollen to encompass more than 50 percent of discretionary spending in fiscal year (FY) 2016, and is expected to increase by an additional $54 billion in FY 2018.  Unbelievably, it is the lone federal agency to have never undergone an audit, as is required by law.  The vital nature of the Pentagon’s mission means that inefficiency in this sector is too dangerous to tolerate.  Wasted spending costs taxpayers and undermines the capability of the armed forces.

Supreme Court’s Decision on Biosimilars is Precedent Setting

Yesterday, with little notice, a big decision was made by the Supreme Court of the United States.  Their ruling means biosimilars, or “generic” versions of biologic drugs, will be able to be marketed immediately after approval by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), just as Congress intended.  The decision will save consumers and taxpayers billions of dollars.

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.

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