Watchdogs from several agencies told a House panel their independence is threated by agencies refusing to turn over documents and finding ways to circumvent handing them over. Inspectors General from the Justice Department, Peace Corps and Environmental Protection Agency spoke out against losing their independence to agencies who use statutory or legal authority to keep documents out of the IGs' hands.
With the revelation that the Healthcare.gov website was hacked into last week, congressional lawmakers said they're taking a closer look at what happened as well as stepping up hearings on cybersecurity.
House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) blasted the Labor Department over what he calls wasteful spending on promoting the agency. Issa wants the DOL to hand over documents and information related to agency spending and claims he has information that the DOL spent $600,000 on informational elevator posters, $25,000 in entry fees for public relations contests and $100,000 to promote a book club.
The Office of Personnel Management wants to make it easier for federal workers to telework, an Aug. 22 OPM memo says. Agencies should remove barriers or limitations that unnecessarily restrict federal workers from using existing workplace flexibilities and work-life programs, the memo says.
The House Oversight Committee chairman wants answers from the Commerce Department about why reports show that patent examiners and paralegals lied about their hours while teleworking. At the end of July, the Commerce Department inspector general found that many paralegal specialists at the PTO "were frequently paid to do nothing". The practice persisted over several years even as a backlog of appeals cases grew during that time.
Nearly 50 inspectors general have signed a letter to congressional oversight committees, pointing out that recent restrictions in accessing records at three agencies could jeopardize the work and authority of every federal IG.
The SSA's Disability Case Processing System, or DCPS, has failed to produce a working system after more than six years of development and $288 million, according to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.
A new bipartisan House bill directs the Federal Communications Commission to determine if some spectrum bands can be set aside specifically for wireless devices such as laptop and tablet computers.
The Environmental Protection Agency wants more latitude to fire poorly performing employees, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy told a House panel June 25. "Any way we can make these processes move more quickly, I'm all for it," McCarthy said at a House Oversight and Governmental Affairs Committee hearing. "But there is an administrative process we must follow."
The Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act passed in the House May 22 as part of the fiscal 2015 National Defense Authorization Act (H.R. 4435). The bill passed with a 325-98 vote.