Hearings

Sep 9, 2016

Oversight of the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Response to the Baton Rouge Flood Disaster

PURPOSE: To examine the extent of damage to the region, oversee the Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA) recovery efforts and identify areas for improvement. BACKGROUND: Between August 12 and August 13, 2016, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and surrounding parishes ...

Sep 8, 2016

Examining FOIA Compliance at the Department of State

TAKEAWAYS: Despite an affidavit signed by Secretary Clinton on Aug. 8, 2015, stating all of her records were turned over to State, in just the last month, State received

Sep 7, 2016

Oversight of the Department of Defense Office of Inspector General’s Military Whistleblower Reprisal Investigations

PURPOSE: To examine the Department of Defense Office of Inspector General's (DODIG) efforts to ensure compliance with the statutory notification requirement, develop an implementation plan for expanding the IG's case management system, and issue guidance governing the oversight process. To examine the DODIG's performance in working with and protecting whistleblowers. BACKGROUND: The DODIG is responsible for ...

Jul 15, 2016

Oversight of the Urban Area Security Initiative Grant Program

PURPOSE: To review the process by which the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) determines which Metropolitan Statistical Areas receive Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI) grant funding. To evaluate UASI funding history for the Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, Florida area, and the decision not to fund that area for the last two fiscal years. BACKGROUND: The UASI grant program provides financial assistance to ...

Jul 14, 2016

Lagging Behind: The State of High Speed Rail in the United States

PURPOSE: To examine the status and management of the High Speed Intercity Passenger Rail (HSIPR) program across the United States. BACKGROUND: In 2009, President Obama announced a plan to substantially upgrade speeds on existing rail routes and to create new high-speed rail corridors. Congress has appropriated more than $10 billion dollars for high speed rail initiatives to carry out the HSIPR ...

Jul 14, 2016

Examining Mismanagement in Office of Justice Programs Grantmaking

PURPOSE: To understand the difficulties faced in the Office of Justice Programs (OJP) and similar grant programs. BACKGROUND: The Department of Justice (DOJ) Office of Inspector General (OIG) labeled oversight of grants as a “top management challenge” in fiscal year 2015, and the U.S. Government Accountability Office’s 2012 duplication report found duplication and overlap in DOJ grant programs. Since ...

Jul 14, 2016

Recalcitrant Countries: Denying Visas to Countries that Refuse to Take Back their Deported Nationals

TAKEAWAYS: According to ICE 953,506 aliens with final orders of removal remain in the United States. The Supreme Court’s decision in Zadvydas v. Davis, which limits the length of detention for aliens who cannot be removed in the near future, allows even violent criminal aliens to be put back on U.S. streets if their home country refuses to ...

Jul 13, 2016

From Premium Increases to Failing Co-ops: An Obamacare Checkup

PURPOSE: To assess the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS) plans to protect consumers and safeguard billions in taxpayer dollars. To examine the viability of the Consumer Operated and Oriented Plan (CO-OP) Program, and other concerns related to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). BACKGROUND: Under the PPACA, CMS awarded $2.4 billion in loans to help create CO-OPs. ...

Jul 13, 2016

Digital Acts of War: Evolving the Cybersecurity Conversation

PURPOSE: To examine the strategies and policies of the administration’s response to cybersecurity incidents. To review the growing market for threat intelligence, the pros/cons of making attribution after cybersecurity incidents, and the benefits of clarifying international norms of cyber operations. BACKGROUND: Data breaches at the Office of Personnel Management and at private sector companies have validated ...

Jul 13, 2016

Oversight of the FDIC Application Process

TAKEAWAYS: A lack of transparency exists in the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation’s (FDIC) application process for deposit insurance. o   This discretionary process is plagued with unwritten rules and sliding standards, making it next to impossible for an application to be approved. o   The FDIC has only approved three new (de novo) bank applications since 2011. As a result, the U.S. has the lowest number of banks since 1934 ...