Talks of another possible government shutdown in October are starting as Congress has stalled on passing appropriations bills and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has fired the first shot. But this time, defunding the Affordable Care Act isn't the impediment like it was last year. It's President Obama's use of executive power.
The fiscal 2014 omnibus appropriations bill that President Obama signed in December contained enough spending cuts to avoid across-the-board sequestration cuts for the rest of the fiscal year, an Aug. 15 Congressional Budget Office report says. The CBO is required to report on sequestration cuts in January and August of each year. Minor adjustments to the budget caps have been made since the January report, but CBO says its assessment remains the same.
Poor planning, budget limitations, increased apprehensions and lack of communication with Homeland Security leaders and the White House led Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials to release more than 2,000 immigration detainees--including some criminals--in early 2013, the department's watchdog found.
Balances in the Air Force Working Capital Fund fell below the minimum cash requirements one-third of the time between fiscal 2009 and 2013, a July 31 Government Accountability Office report says. The Air Force operates the AFWCF to provide certain goods and services to a variety of customers, including the Army, the Navy, the Air Force, non-Defense Department agencies and foreign countries, the report says.
The Reforming Federal Procurement of Information Technology, or RFP-IT, Act was introduced July 30. The legislation proposes to enhance competition for government IT contracts, promote innovation, and strengthen accountability by creating a new government office.
In 2004, the Homeland Security Department reported to 88 different committees and subcommittees of Congress. The 9/11 Commission urged Congress to consolidate oversight to make it less fragmented—but now, a decade later, the department reports to 92 committees and subcommittees.
The head of the House subcommittee on military readiness said the Defense Department needs train soldiers for a broader set of missions during tough fiscal times, at a Center for Strategic and International Studies discussion last week. "People have extraordinary experience, but in a very narrow range of operation. I can guarantee you that the challenges they face in the future will not be exactly like what they have faced in Iraq and Afghanistan. So the question is how do you make sure you train to develop that capability?" said Rep. Robert Wittman (R-Va.), chairman of the House Armed Services Committee subcommittee on readiness at the event.
A review of a bureau's information systems within the Treasury Department found a "signficant deficiency" in security measures over financial reporting, a Government Accountability Office report released July 18.
Under an appropriations bill passed by the House last week, executives at the Internal Revenue Service would be ineligible for performance awards in 2015. The bill (H.R.5016), passed by the House July 16, sets out fiscal 2015 appropriations for the IRS and general government services. The bonuses provision was added as an amendment by Rep. Paul A. Gosar (R-Ariz.) and approved in a 282-138 vote. The amendment would affects IRS career management officials in the Senior Executive Service.
The Defense Department's decreased war budget request comes as a result of the war in Afghanistan winding down, Deputy Defense Secretary Robert Work told a House panel. The DoD requested $58.6 billion for Overseas Contingency Operations funding for fiscal 2015--about $26.7 billion less than the fiscal 2014 enacted level. And it comes in at about $100 billion less than the OCO request from fiscal 2011.