Davis proposes a new role for inspectors general

Rep. Tom Davis (R-Va.), ranking member on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, offered an amendment that would empower inspectors general to expose redundant programs and report to Congress with legislative proposals on how to end the programs.
Davis said unnecessary programs are a result of Congress’ “bad habit of haphazardly establishing new programs to achieve short-term solutions whenever a problem arises.”

For example, Davis said, there are 70 programs in 13 federal agencies that provide substance-abuse prevention services for young people. He went on to list more duplicative programs scattered throughout the government — from wastewater treatment to job training.

“We have the IGs,” he said. “Let’s utilize that expertise for suggestions [about] how we can reduce waste, fraud and abuse in government.”

Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), the committee’s chairman, said he disagreed with Davis’ amendment. Waxman said IGs’ primary role is to find waste, fraud and abuse. IGs should not be reorganizing agencies, he said.

The House passed Davis’ amendment to add the IG provision to the Improving Government Accountability Act. It did so without Waxman’s support.

About the Author

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

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