Mar 22, 2016

America’s Heroin and Opioid Abuse Epidemic

TAKEAWAYS: Drug overdoses are the leading cause of accidental death in the United States. Experts believe the current epidemic of opioid abuse has contributed to an increase in heroin deaths as opioid consumers move towards heroin use. In recent years, opioid-related overdoses have begun to decrease while heroin-related overdoses have sharply increased. According to the DEA, Mexican based criminal organizations are the ...

Mar 17, 2016

Examining Federal Administration of the Safe Drinking Water Act in Flint, Michigan, Part 3

TAKEAWAYS: Chairman Chaffetz and other members of the Committee called on U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator McCarthy to resign. EPA refuses to take responsibility for not taking quick and decisive action in Flint and has not held anyone accountable for their failures. Administrator McCarthy refused to answer whether she would have removed Susan Hedman as Region 5 ...

Mar 16, 2016

VA Cybersecurity and IT Oversight

PURPOSE: To examine the Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) implementation of the Federal Information Security Management Act and Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act (FITARA), as well as specific IT investments, including the modernization of the Veterans Health Information Systems and Technology Architecture (VISTA) system. BACKGROUND: The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is engaged in an effort ...

Mar 16, 2016

Examining the Renewable Fuel Standard

PURPOSE: To examine the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) management of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program. BACKGROUND: The RFS dictates that a specific amount of renewable fuel must be mixed into transportation fuel sold in the United States. Ethanol is the most common ingredient blended in order to comply with RFS. Due to delays in issuing annual blending mandates, EPA must issue retroactive ...

Mar 16, 2016

Rebuilding Afghanistan: Oversight of Defense Department Infrastructure Projects

TAKEAWAYS: More than 60 percent of the Department of Defense (DOD) reconstruction contracts inspected by the Special Inspector General of Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) between July 2009 and September 2015 did not fully meet contract requirements or technical specifications. One-third of completed reconstruction projects in Afghanistan inspected by SIGAR have never been used. Troop drawdown in Afghanistan limits SIGAR, DOD, and ...

Mar 15, 2016

Accountability and Transparency Reform at the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs

PURPOSE: To examine the role of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) in ensuring regulatory transparency and accountability. BACKGROUND: Created by the Paperwork Reduction of 1980, OIRA is housed within the Office of Management and Budget and is responsible for overseeing federal regulatory, paperwork, and information resource management activities. In 1993, President Clinton issued Executive ...

Mar 15, 2016

Examining Federal Administration of the Safe Drinking Water Act in Flint, Michigan, Part 2

TAKEAWAYS: The Flint water crisis is a failure at every level of government. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 5 was aware of dangerously high levels of lead in Flint drinking water in April 2015, yet failed to act until January 2016 when they were forced to intervene. EPA Region 5 Regulations Manager

Mar 2, 2016

Firearms Lost: GSA’s Administration of the Surplus Firearm Donation Program

PURPOSE: To evaluate U.S. General Services Administration’s (GSA) management of the surplus firearm donation program and to address potential gaps in GSA’s efforts to account for and secure donated firearms. To examine deficiencies highlighted in the 2015 GSA Office of the Inspector General report. BACKGROUND: Started in 1999, the surplus firearm donation program provides firearms no longer needed by federal ...

Mar 2, 2016

Geolocation Technology and Privacy

TAKEAWAYS: Chairman Chaffetz and Ranking Member Cummings will review updated guidance issued by the Department of Justice post S. v. Jones. These memos provide guidance on the use of geolocation technology by federal law enforcement. Various legal standards and guidelines are used to manage the use of geolocation technology at a local, state, and federal level. A clear standard is needed to govern the use of this technology. Congress ...

Feb 26, 2016

Oversight of Federal Vehicles

PURPOSE: To review the structure of accountability for owned and leased federal vehicles, and incentives for proper management. To assess the status of vehicle management by the National Passenger Rail Corporation (Amtrak). BACKGROUND: According to the General Services Administration, federal agencies owned or leased 633,851 vehicles in fiscal year 2014 at a cost of $4.4 billion. The Government ...