Oversight Committee Approves Taxpayer Accountability Bills

Published: Oct 29, 2013

WASHINGTON – The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee today adopted four bills to enhance accountability of how the government spends taxpayer dollars.

“The Committee advanced these bills today to improve the ability of this Committee, agency inspectors general, and citizen watchdogs to protect taxpayers’ hard earned dollars,” said Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif.

The Committee adopted the following legislation by unanimous voice vote:

  • H.R. 2860, the Office of Personnel Management Inspector General (OPM IG) Act, which will enhance the OPM IG’s oversight of the range of commercial-like services OPM provides to other federal agencies, including background investigations for security clearances, training, and human resource management, on a reimbursable basis through its revolving fund.  Today, activities financed by OPM’s revolving fund generate more than $2 billion annually. The legislation was sponsored by Federal Workforce Subcommittee Chairman Blake Farenthold, R-Texas, and Ranking Member Stephen Lynch, D-Mass.

“As the revolving fund budget has grown, the funds available to the IG for audit of the fund have not kept pace,” said Chairman Farenthold. “The OPM IG Act corrects that, providing resources for critical oversight at relatively low cost, using existing funds.”

  • H.R. 3345, the Stop Unworthy Spending (SUSPEND) Act, sponsored by Chairman Issa and Ranking Member Elijah Cummings, D-Md., as amended. The legislation completely overhauls the suspension and debarment (S&D) system by which federal agencies identify contractors and grantees who should not receive further federal awards due to criminal activity or chronic incompetence. The Committee adopted an amendment offered by National Security Subcommittee Chairman Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, Ranking Member John Tierney, D-Mass., and Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Calif., which strengthens the legislation by requiring a 30 day time limit between referral and consideration of S&D cases, and a 6 month time limit between referral and resolution. For more information on the SUSPEND Act, click here.
  • H.R. 3343, legislation sponsored by Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-D.C., and cosponsored by Chairman Issa, that harmonizes the cap on the District of Columbia’s Chief Financial Officer’s pay with the cap on Senior Executive Service pay.

The Committee also approved by a vote of 19-15 H.R. 3316, the Grant Reform and New Transparency Act of 2013 (GRANT Act), sponsored by Subcommittee Chairman James Lankford, R-Okla., as amended. The bill will improve the way taxpayer funds are awarded by enhancing the transparency and accountability of the federal grant process. The Committee adopted an amendment offered by Rep. Speier to streamline the pre-grant financial management evaluation process for grantees that have received at least $10 million dollars in federal grants within the past three years. For more information on the GRANT Act, click here.

Full markup information will be posted online here within 48 hours.