Sunday, July 29, 2012

Reader Comment – 7-27-12 – CFATS Personnel Surety

I had not intended to discuss the opening comments made by the chair and ranking member of the Homeland Security Subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee in last week’s CFATS hearing since they didn’t have the political integrity to make a copy of their opening statements (either in writing or video) available for the public record. An anonymous reader, however, posted a question about a comment made by Rep. Price (D,NC), the ranking member, about an important issue, so I will relent.

Anonymous noted that:

“One of the interesting questions asked at the beginning from Mr. Price stated that he wanted to understand how so much money was spent on the Personal Surety program and then OMB can deny it. What step was missed in that process?”

Since I have no way of verifying the remark independently because of the lack of public record on the hearing (the hearing web page only provides links to the written statements from the two witnesses, which are independently available on the GAO and DHS web sites respectively) I can only accept the word of my anonymous reader that Mr. Price made such a politically na├»ve question. As reader’s of this blog are aware, I wrote back on July 21st that NPPD had withdrawn the ICR, it was not disapproved by OMB.

Now to be fair to Price, who is an obvious political neophyte (Sarcasm Alert), I’m relatively sure that OMB was never going to approve this ICR because of vocal opposition from both business and labor; a political one-two punch that no Administration can afford to ignore. The fact that OMB had taken no action on the ICR in almost a year was certainly a good indication of the poor chance that it stood of being approved.

Now at the end of his opening statement (that part I did catch) the Ranking Member did make a comment about how disappointed that the ICR was withdrawn without notifying the Committee, especially with this hearing in the works. Deputy Under Secretary Spaulding noted in the off-the-cuff start to her testimony that the failure to do so was an oversight and the timing of the withdrawal was specifically selected so that it could be discussed in that hearing.

As I noted earlier, the meeting was cut way short by a lengthy series of floor votes. We will have to wait for it to be re-scheduled to hear that discussion. As of this morning there is no such hearing scheduled, according to the Committee web site.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I wonder why OMB took over a year without action? Is that standard practice for OMB?

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