Debt-Flicks: Brewster’s Millions

June 6, 2013

Debt-Flicks: Brewster’s Millions

Rep. Jackie Speier: I think the IRS is just one example of what’s going on in every agency in the country …”  (House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, “IRS Spending Culture and Conference Abuses” CSPAN 3, 6/6/13)


Today at a House Oversight hearing on IRS spending and conference abuses, Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) focused in on the “spend-it-or-lose-it” system in Washington that contributes to a “shopping spree mentality” at the end of the fourth quarter each fiscal year.

They Said It!

Rep. Jackie Speier 6.6.13

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Rep. Speier (D-Calif.): “One of the problems, I think, that initiated the Anaheim conference was the fact that you were coming to the end of a fiscal year, and there was unused money, correct?”

IRS Acting Commissioner Daniel Werfel: “Uhh…there was, yes, there was extra money available, and clearly in this case, that money wasn’t deployed to its highest and best use. There is absolutely, no doubt about that.”

Rep. Speier: “You’ve worked at OMB before, so you’ve seen this phenomenon before. It’s something I’m very concerned about; which is, as various federal agencies come to the end of the fiscal year, and they have money left in accounts, they want to spend it down because there’s fear that if they don’t spend it down, they will not be fully funded in the subsequent year. Is that correct?”

Werfel: “That is a major problem.”

Rep. Speier: “I think the IRS is just one example of what’s going on in every agency in the country in the federal government when they’ve got money at the end of a fiscal year and they don’t want to lose it, so you use it.  And you find some way to use it.  And in this case it was an Anaheim conference, and somewhere else it’s some other form of training or it’s SWAG or whatever.  So, how do we fix that?  ….

Rep. Speier: What would you recommend that we put in place that would at least reduce the likelihood that this kind of crazy spending, this shopping spree mentality, goes on in the fourth quarter of the fiscal year …?” (House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, “IRS Spending and Culture” CSPAN 3, 6/6/13)


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