Buzz of the Week

The Bush administration released its proposed budget for fiscal 2008 last week, although most people in government are more concerned about the stalled spending bills for fiscal 2007. More than four months into the government’s new fiscal year, agencies are still saying, “Show us the money.”

This annual stalemate is particularly vexing because of the needless strain that it puts on the system. Congress will pass the spending bills one way or another, so the procrastination makes little sense.

But the stalling puts agencies in a terrible bind. If lawmakers pass fiscal 2007 spending bills later this month, as is generally expected, agencies will get their funds to operate. No harm done, right? Unfortunately, agencies must spend the funds by the end of the fiscal year. So some agencies have to get moving so they don’t lose that money.

Most officials will not say publicly that they go on a spending spree in such circumstances. But imagine how efficiently your house or company would operate if your ability to spend money was turned off, then on, then off again — with predictable unpredictability.

In the early days of the new Congress, lawmakers have focused on ethics reforms, earmarks and all forms of waste, fraud and abuse. There has been little discussion of reforming and rationalizing how the government passes spending bills.

And people wonder why the government doesn’t run like a business.

The Buzz contenders

#2: The other budget season

President Bush pressed forward last week by releasing the administration’s fiscal 2008 spending proposal. The budget requests $65 billion in information technology spending, a 2.6 percent increase from fiscal 2007.

The administration is focusing on results — a recurring theme in the past six years.

“It’s time for us to really drive utilization into solutions,” said Karen Evans, the Office of Management and Budget’s administrator for e-government and IT.

The release of the budget request is always interesting because it provides the best indication of an administration’s priorities. But we should remember that the president’s budget is a proposal, and for the first time in his tenure, Bush is submitting his budget proposal to a Democratic Congress. Much of the president’s budget request will stay intact, but aspects of it are certain to change, assuming Congress passes the spending bills.

#3 The fourth branch of
government

The New York Times featured a story Feb. 3 about a spike in contracting during the Bush presidency. “In Washington, contractors take on biggest role ever,” the headline states.

“Without a public debate or formal policy decision, contractors have become a virtual fourth branch of government. On the rise for decades, spending on federal contracts has soared during the Bush administration, to about $400 billion last year from $207 billion in 2000, fueled by the war in Iraq, domestic security and Hurricane Katrina, but also by a philosophy that encourages outsourcing almost everything government does,” the story states.

People can quibble about the story’s details — whether Bush’s competitive sourcing initiative “went without public debate” and whether outsourcing was a Bush doctrine or a continuation of long-standing policies. But all can see that government contracting is under a microscope these days — on Capitol Hill and in the mainstream media.

#4 Déjà VA, all over again

Just when you thought it was safe to take your laptop PC home again, the Department of Veterans Affairs has lost more data.

A VA-owned portable hard drive, potentially containing personal information on an unknown number of veterans, was reported missing from an Alabama facility. A VA employee at a medical facility in Birmingham reported that the hard drive might have been stolen, the department announced Feb. 2.

Last year, a laptop and external hard drive containing personal data on about 26.5 million veterans and their families were stolen from the home of a VA employee in suburban Maryland. The laptop and hard drive were recovered a month later, and FBI officials said the thieves most likely had not compromised the data. But the theft became a department scandal because several high-ranking VA officials failed to deal with the loss expeditiously.

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.