IGs may have to hunt for redundant programs

Inspectors general would report redundant programs to Congress and the president each year under an amendment to legislation the House passed today.

In addition, IGs would have to include proposed legislation with those reports to encourage Congress to take action on the redundant programs under the measure, the Improving Government Accountability Act.
The House passed the bill 404 to 11. It now goes to the Senate.

Rep. Tom Davis (R-Va), who proposed the amendment, asked, "How many more times are we going to have to hear about redundancy in federal programs without doing anything about it?"

For example, eight agencies run 17 separate programs related to rural water and wastewater systems, and each program has a set of regulations, said Davis, ranking member on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

"The primary reason all these federal programs exist in the first place is because Congress has this bad habit of haphazardly establishing new programs to achieve short-term solutions whenever a problem arises," he said.

However, the Bush administration opposes the bill. Officials say several provisions would undermine the president's authority over the executive branch. For example, they disagree with a provision that would prevent the president from removing from office IGs he appointed, except for specific reasons such as being convicted of a felony.

The administration also opposes other provisions:
  • The bill would require IGs to submit a budget request to the Office of Management and Budget in addition to the House and Senate Appropriations committees. Currently, agency budgets include IG spending requests.
  • The bill would also establish a Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency.


"A council would impede the president's ability to react swiftly and effectively to problems with IGs or with the council itself," according to a statement of administration policy.

About the Author

Matthew Weigelt is a freelance journalist who writes about acquisition and procurement.

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