Spending bill amended with provision to strengthen IGs

An amendment requiring the Veterans Affairs Department to make it easy to use the Web to report malfeasance to the agency's inspector general is the latest effort by Democrats in Congress to strengthen inspectors general and oversight of federal agencies.

The provision would require the VA to create a mechanism on its Web site to anonymously report waste, fraud or abuse to the inspector general and to directly link the IG site on its home page. All inspectors general at large departments have Web sites, but few agencies link to the offices on their main page.

Offered by Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., the provision was incorporated Wednesday into the Senate's fiscal 2008 Military Construction-VA appropriations bill. Aides said McCaskill, a former state auditor, will offer similar amendments to 10 other pending appropriations bills. She attached the same measure to the Homeland Security spending bill in July.

McCaskill included the same requirements in a broader bill aimed at strengthening inspectors general that is pending in the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. Staffers said they hope the bill will be marked up this fall. The measure and a similar bill the House is expected to pass in coming weeks are advancing on the strength of Democrats' interest in vigorous agency oversight, backers said.

"Oversight has been a hallmark of this Congress," said John Spragens, spokesman for Rep. Jim Cooper, D-Tenn., who sponsored the House bill. Similar bills pushed in prior years by Cooper did not emerge from committee when Republicans were in charge.

Lawmakers have called the IG bills a fix for a series of scandals involving IGs, such as calls for NASA Inspector General Robert Cobb to resign over claims he worked too closely with agency officials.

Both the Cooper and McCaskill bills would give inspectors general fixed seven-year terms and require they be fired only for cause. The bills would allow IGs to send their budgets directly to Congress, a step intended to prevent agency heads for using budgets to influence oversight.

McCaskill's bill would also require that inspectors general have relevant backgrounds, prevent IGs from receiving cash bonuses, and require that all inspector general offices have their own legal counsel. Critics argue IGs that must rely on agency lawyers for advice, including the Pentagon's inspector general, sacrifice independence.

Clay Johnson, deputy director for management at the Office of Management and Budget and chairman of the President's Council on Integrity and Efficiency, has said many of the provisions in the IG bills are unnecessary. But it is unclear if the White House would veto an inspector general bill passed by Congress.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
Close [ x ] More from GovExec

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by Brocade

    Best of 2016 Federal Forum eBook

    Earlier this summer, Federal and tech industry leaders convened to talk security, machine learning, network modernization, DevOps, and much more at the 2016 Federal Forum. This eBook includes a useful summary highlighting the best content shared at the 2016 Federal Forum to help agencies modernize their network infrastructure.

  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    GBC Flash Poll Series: Merger & Acquisitions

    Download this GBC Flash Poll to learn more about federal perspectives on the impact of industry consolidation.

  • Sponsored by One Identity

    One Nation Under Guard: Securing User Identities Across State and Local Government

    In 2016, the government can expect even more sophisticated threats on the horizon, making it all the more imperative that agencies enforce proper identity and access management (IAM) practices. In order to better measure the current state of IAM at the state and local level, Government Business Council (GBC) conducted an in-depth research study of state and local employees.

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    The Next Federal Evolution of Cloud

    This GBC report explains the evolution of cloud computing in federal government, and provides an outlook for the future of the cloud in government IT.

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    A DevOps Roadmap for the Federal Government

    This GBC Report discusses how DevOps is steadily gaining traction among some of government's leading IT developers and agencies.

  • Sponsored by LTC Partners, administrators of the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program

    Approaching the Brink of Federal Retirement

    Approximately 10,000 baby boomers are reaching retirement age per day, and a growing number of federal employees are preparing themselves for the next chapter of their lives. Learn how to tackle the challenges that today's workforce faces in laying the groundwork for a smooth and secure retirement.

  • Sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise

    Cyber Defense 101: Arming the Next Generation of Government Employees

    Read this issue brief to learn about the sector's most potent challenges in the new cyber landscape and how government organizations are building a robust, threat-aware infrastructure

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    GBC Issue Brief: Cultivating Digital Services in the Federal Landscape

    Read this GBC issue brief to learn more about the current state of digital services in the government, and how key players are pushing enhancements towards a user-centric approach.

  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    Joint Enterprise Licensing Agreements

    Read this eBook to learn how defense agencies can achieve savings and efficiencies with an Enterprise Software Agreement.

  • Sponsored by Cloudera

    Government Forum Content Library

    Get all the essential resources needed for effective technology strategies in the federal landscape.


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.