Rep. Farenthold Questions Furloughs and Lack Of Federal Agency Planning

By March 19, 2013 Press Releases No Comments


WASHINGTON — Today, U.S. Representative Blake Farenthold (TX-27), Chairman of the House Oversight Subcommittee on the Federal Workforce, held a joint hearing with Congressman Jim Jordan (R-OH), Chairman of the House Oversight Subcommittee on Economic Growth, Job Creation and Regulatory Affairs, to question Administration officials on their apparent lack of sequestration planning.

“My grandmother always told me, plan for the worst, and hope for the best,” said Chairman Farenthold.  “It is smart advice that federal agency heads should have followed in preparation for the sequester.

“Sequestration has been a possibility since August 2011, yet federal agencies, for the most part, have done very little to budget for these changes. It seems like the Administration is making these cuts as painful as possible for political gain.  Top officials are claiming that furloughs, not reining in bonuses, or cutting wasteful or frivolous spending, are the only way for federal agencies to weather sequester cuts—and that’s just not true.

“If the President, government agencies, and the secretaries who head them spent more time planning and less time misleading the American people about the sequester, we’d all be better off.”

The Federal Communications Commission, who sent a witness to testify in today’s hearing, said they have been planning for the cuts since the sequester became law, and because of that planning, are not anticipating furloughs at this time.  Other agencies failed to plan.

“With the sequester now upon us, some of the Administration’s spending choices make no sense.  Why would they issue a memo 5 months ago instructing their agency heads to “continue normal spending…” with sequestration cuts on the horizon?  What they should have done is look for waste, fraud, and abuse to cut, giving them the savings to avoid the most public and painful cuts: employee furloughs.

“That’s why I introduced the PACE Act, which forces the President’s budget office to find the needed savings by cutting down on waste and overlap, not by reducing the workforce.”

Congressman Farenthold also participated in a hearing today with Department of Defense and Department of Homeland Security officials about implementing watchdog recommendations that could save taxpayers billions.

The number of unimplemented cost-saving recommendations from federal agency watchdogs has increased dramatically under the Obama administration.  In 2009, there were 10,894 unimplemented recommendations.  In 2012, that number jumped to 16,906 unimplemented recommendations, totaling a potential cost savings of $67 billion.

To watch Chairman Farenthold’s Opening Statement from the House Oversight Subcommittee Hearing, click here.

To watch Chairman Farenthold’s questioning from the House Oversight Subcommittee Hearing, click here.

To watch Chairman Farenthold’s questioning from the House Oversight Committee Hearing on unimplemented recommendations, click here.