For the Good of Illinois

U.S. Senate Press Release: Senators Seek Answers from High-Spending Federal Agencies on ‘Use It or Lose It’ Spending

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 29, 2018
Contact: 
Ben Voelkel (Johnson), 202-229-1732
Drew Pusateri (McCaskill), 202-228-4595
Matt Hawes (Paul), 202-224-4343
Allison Green (Peters), 202-834-2281
 

Senators Seek Answers from High-Spending Federal Agencies on ‘Use It or Lose It’ Spending

 
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Gary Peters (D-Mich.) sent letters to the chief financial officers of 13 federal agencies Tuesday raising concerns about potentially wasteful spending in the final weeks before the end of the fiscal year. According to one report, federal agencies spent more than $11 billion during the final week of the fiscal year 2017, almost five times more than average weekly spending during the rest of the year.
 
"According to a recent report, with only limited time left in the current fiscal year, eight of the top ten highest-spending federal agencies have not used as much as 40 percent of their budgets," the Senators wrote. "Some observers have raised concerns that this year’s annual spending binge could be the biggest yet."
 
The letters were sent to the CFOs of the Department of Defense, Department of the Treasury, Department of Veterans Affairs, Department of Homeland Security, Department of Energy, Department of Justice, Department of State, Department of Transportation, Department of Health and Human Services, General Services Administration, NASA, National Science Foundation and Social Security Administration. Johnson and McCaskill are chairman and ranking member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, and Paul and Peters are the chairman and ranking member of the panel’s Subcommittee on Federal Spending Oversight and Emergency Management.   
 
Full text of the Senators’ letter to the Department of Defense is below.
 
Mr. David L. Norquist
Chief Financial Officer
Department of Defense
1400 Defense Pentagon
Washington, D.C. 20301
 
Dear Mr. Norquist:
 
We respectfully write to request information about the Department of Defense’s plans to address so-called "use it or lose it" spending at the end of the federal fiscal year.  Historically, federal agencies increase spending during the fourth quarter of the fiscal year. Although not a new phenomenon, use it or lose it spending can lead to waste and abuse of taxpayer dollars.  The Committee has previously raised concerns about the potential for waste and abuse the practice presents.
 
Last fiscal year, agencies spent a total of $11.1 billion in the final week of the fiscal year[4]—almost five times higher than the average weekly spending during the rest of the year.  Further, research suggests that "spending that originates in the last week of the fiscal year has 2.3 to 5.6 times higher odds of having a lower quality score."  According to a recent report, with only limited time left in the current fiscal year, eight of the top ten highest-spending federal agencies have not used as much as 40 percent of their budgets. Some observers have raised concerns that this year’s annual spending binge could be the biggest yet.
 
We respectfully request that you arrange for a staff-level briefing about how the Department of Defense will ensure that its spending in the last quarter of this fiscal year is not wasteful or abusive.  Please provide this briefing by September 14, 2018. 
 
The Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs is authorized by Rule XXV of the Standing Rules of the Senate to investigate "the efficiency, economy, and effectiveness of all agencies and departments of the Government." Additionally, S. Res. 62 (115th Congress) authorizes the Committee to examine "the efficiency and economy of all branches of the Government . . . ."
 
If you have any questions related to this letter, please ask your staff to contact Elliott Walden of Chairman Johnson’s staff at (202) 224-4751, Sarah Garcia of Ranking Member McCaskill’s staff at (202) 224-2627, Greg McNeill of Chairman Paul’s staff at (202) 224-4343, or Zachary Schram of Ranking Member Peters’ staff at (202) 224-6221.  Thank you for your attention to this matter.
 
Sincerely,
 
Ron Johnson                                                           Rand Paul, M.D.
Chairman                                                                  Chairman
Committee on Homeland Security                               Subcommittee on Federal Spending
and Governmental Affairs                                           Oversight & Emergency Management
                                                                                Committee on Homeland Security
                                                                                and Governmental Affairs
 
 
Claire McCaskill                                                       Gary Peters
Ranking Member                                                       Ranking Member
Committee on Homeland Security                               Subcommittee on Federal Spending
and Governmental Affairs                                           Oversight & Emergency Management
                                                                                Committee on Homeland Security
                                                                                and Governmental Affairs
###
 
Ben Voelkel
Communications Director
Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI)
202-228-0071
 
[4] Adam Andrzejewski, Use It Or Lose It – Trump’s Agencies Spent $11 Billion Last Week in Year-End Spending Spree, Forbes (Oct. 3, 2017), https://www.forbes.com/sites/adamandrzejewski/2017/10/03/use-it-or-lose-it-the-federal-governments-11-billion-year-end-spending-spree.
 

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Infamous D
Chicago, IL
9/5/2018 06:14 AM
 

  i wonder where all that money goes last minute and why they get big budgets if they only use 40%...

 
 
KC
St George, UT
9/4/2018 09:58 AM
 

  This something that has been going on as long as I can remember. Even in Non-Profits. No reward for saving money in your budget.