Senator Carper Responds to Results of Committee Business Meeting

WASHINGTON – Today, Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), Ranking Member of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, highlighted the bipartisan progress as well as unfinished work the Committee must tackle following the Committee’s business meeting.

The Committee favorably reported The Fraud Reduction and Data Analytics Act of 2015 (S.2133), which was introduced by Sen. Carper earlier this week. The bipartisan bill, cosponsored by Sens. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), and Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), would require federal agencies to conduct regular fraud risk assessments and develop strategies to combat fraud within their programs. Specifically, the bill would require agencies to implement new financial controls to help them better identify and prevent fraud and push them to share anti-fraud best practices with each other. The bill would also promote the development and use of cutting-edge data analysis tools across the federal government that should help agencies, just like private sector business such as credit card companies, spot patterns of fraud. Finally, the bill would strengthen accountability by requiring regular reports to Congress about agency progress in combatting fraud.

“We have a responsibility to ensure that federal agencies do a better job managing federal programs and delivering services more efficiently and at a lower cost,” said Sen. Carper. “This bill would, among other things, require federal officials to determine what areas of government spending are at the greatest risk for fraud, develop an action plan to address vulnerabilities, and then share those solutions across agencies with similar programs. I thank my Committee colleagues for supporting this timely, common sense and bipartisan legislation.”

The Committee also considered several bills that would change various aspects of the regulatory procedures federal agencies follow. Sen. Carper joined his Committee colleagues in supporting S. 1817, the Smarter Regs Act of 2015, which would require retrospective review plans to be built into future regulations. The bill, introduced by Sens. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) and James Lankford (R-Okla.), was favorably reported by voice vote. Sen. Carper called on his Committee and Senate colleagues to continue to work together in a bipartisan manner to address remaining concerns in the other regulatory reform bills considered during today’s business meeting.

“One of the most important jobs of Congress is to help create a nurturing environment for job growth,” said Sen. Carper. “One of the ways we can do that is to have common-sense regulations that provide businesses with predictability they need. When done in a smart way, regulations can help grow our economy. Regulations also serve a number of other important public purposes, including protecting public health and safety and the environment. While there may sometimes be disagreements about certain rules, I believe everyone generally agrees that some regulation is necessary and good. However, whatever we do here in Congress and on this Committee should help reduce burdens and increase transparency while achieving the greatest public benefit. It should be our goal to have the most efficient, effective, and transparent regulatory process we can have. We should ensure that process results in common-sense regulations.

“The Senators whose bills we discussed today are all thoughtful legislators and their legislative proposals are well-intentioned. And I am always willing to listen to new ideas,” he continued. “That having been said, I worry that many of these proposals focus too much on the costs of regulations, while ignoring the benefits. Many of the proposals also would add additional hurdles to the regulatory process that would make it even more complicated and lead to significant litigation and regulatory delays rather than help to make the process more efficient. I am hopeful that we can continue to work together to find common areas of agreement and try to find some consensus as the bills move forward, despite some of our disagreements. Regulatory reform in my mind is a lot like working toward a more perfect union. It’s hard work and there are tough issues. But we must always keep trying.”

Finally, Sen. Carper urged his colleagues in the full Senate to vote on several nominees who were reported out of this Committee in June. Those nominees include the Associate Judges on the Superior Court of the District of Columbia, Judge William Nooter and Judge Steven Wellner, who were originally nominated in 2013. 

“I have spoken repeatedly about the large and very troubling backlog of nominations in the Senate,” said Sen. Carper.  “We do our country no service – and ourselves no honor – when we leave key institutions without proper leadership and leave honorable men and women willing to serve in government twisting in the wind. That includes the District of Columbia. Unlike states, the District’s judges must be confirmed by the Senate. In June, our Committee approved two very qualified nominees to be the Associate Judges of the District’s Superior Court – two nominees who were originally nominated in 2013. Since then, the full Senate has done nothing to move these nominees forward. I’d like to remind my colleagues of the Golden Rule, to treat others the way you’d want to be treated.  This is not the way we should treat these well-qualified nominees or the citizens of the District of Columbia. We wouldn’t want to be treated this way if we were in their shoes. Further delay is simply wrong and inexcusable. I ask that we do everything we can to get these nominees moved through the Senate soon.”