Senators Request Information on ‘Use It or Lose It’ Spending

U.S. Senators Ron Johnson (R-WS) and Claire McCaskill (D-MO) – the Chairman and Ranking Member, respectively, of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs (HSGAC) – were joined by Senators Rand Paul (R-KY) and Gary Peters (D-MI) – the Chairman and Ranking Member, respectively, of the Committee’s Subcommittee on Federal Spending Oversight & Emergency Management – in sending “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.”

The Senators reference one report indicating “federal agencies spent more than $11 billion during the final week of fiscal year 2017, almost five times more than average weekly spending during the rest of the year.”

“Historically, federal agencies increase spending during the fourth quarter of the fiscal year,” the letter states. “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.”

The Senators’ letter notes that “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,’” further noting that “this year’s annual spending binge could be the biggest yet.”

The letter requests a staff-level briefing about steps taken to address the spending of concern.

The full list of agencies whose CFOs received the letter of concern are below:

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


National Science Foundation

Social Security Administration

The full text of the letter is available here.

Posted in From the Hill



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