Senate Approves McCaskill’s Bipartisan Bills Aimed at Safeguarding Taxpayer Dollars

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Senate recently approved two of Senator Claire McCaskill’s bipartisan bills with Republican Senator Steve Daines of Montana that help eliminate wasteful spending at the Department of Homeland Security.

“Cutting waste at the Department of Homeland Security allows us to maximize spending on what we need to keep Missourians and all Americans safe,” McCaskill said. “I’m committed to doing all I can to target wasteful spending, and my bipartisan bills will help do that by strengthening oversight and accountability for Homeland Security purchases.”

The Reducing DHS Acquisition Cost Growth Act requires the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to develop corrective actions and inform its senior leadership, the Inspector General, and Congress when large projects are over budget, behind schedule, or underperforming, giving Congress the opportunity conduct better oversight. The Department of Homeland Security Acquisition Review Board Act increases accountability within the agency by codifying and strengthening its Acquisition Review Board, which consists of senior DHS officials who conduct thorough oversight of major acquisitions throughout the process.

DHS spends over $7 billion on major acquisitions, such as programs to buy Coast Guard vessels or new information technology systems. The Department has a history of over-budget programs that don’t meet expectations, and a Congressional watchdog agency has included DHS acquisition management on its list of programs at high risk for waste, fraud, abuse and mismanagement since 2005. For example, a program to upgrade equipment to detect biological threats in the U.S. was never fully implemented and was cancelled after almost a decade of development at a cost of over $1.1 billion in taxpayer money.

Protecting taxpayer dollars has been a top priority for McCaskill as a leader of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. Recently, the Senate passed a McCaskill-backed bipartisan bill to reduce wasteful spending on government technology purchases. The Senate also passed a McCaskill-backed bill making it illegal to spend taxpayer dollars on portraits of government officials. Earlier this year, McCaskill-backed bipartisan legislation to crack down on misuse of federal agency travel and purchase cards spending passed the Senate.