148 results for tag: Big Government


Beware the lame duck

The election might be over, but Congress still has time to grow the government and spend more of your hard-earned money with the lame-duck session. Yet again, lawmakers have to vote on a massive spending bill to avoid a government shutdown. What’s the worst that can happen in a lame-duck session? Conservative Review has some examples, including this one: Then there was that time a lame-duck former reindeer farmer changed his vote to help pass a massive $1 trillion spending bill: In 2014, House conservatives almost defeated a $1 trillion continuing resolution. When then-Speaker John Boehner realized the spending bill was going down, he convin...

VA executives awash in bonuses despite ongoing wait-list scandal

Veteran Affairs employees raked in a combined $177 million in bonuses in fiscal-year 2015 even though VA offices across the country remain plagued by reports of mismanagement and continued manipulation of veteran wait-list times. USA Today has the scoop: More than 300 senior executives of the troubled agency received $3.3 million in bonuses, for an average payment of about $10,000 each. The non-executives received about $900 on average. Among those receiving bonuses was the former top VA official in Ohio who retired the same day he received a notice he was going to be fired. Another was the former chief of staff at the Phoenix VA Medical Center ...

These senators just gave the Veterans Affairs secretary a deadline for answering reform-focused questions

A dozen U.S. senators over the weekend requested President Obama’s Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald answer by Nov. 14 four questions about what, if anything, the department has done to address inter-office corruption that led to the falsification of veteran wait-times. “The GAO report states that the VA needs a new comprehensive scheduling plan to ensure that checks and balances are in place so no one can manipulate the current scheduling system. What measures have you put in place to stop manipulation of veterans’ appointment records? What is the timeframe for a new scheduling system?” read the letter. The request comes on the ...

Colorado VA office under investigation for allegedly fudging wait-times

Veterans Affairs employees in Colorado in an effort to cover up actual wait times are under investigation for allegedly keeping unofficial wait lists of veterans seeking care, investigators announced Wednesday. The Virginian-Pilot has the scoop: The VA's internal watchdog announced an audit in a letter to Republican Sens. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin and Cory Gardner of Colorado. The Associated Press obtained a copy of the letter. Johnson and Gardner asked for the inquiry after a whistleblower told them the lists were allegedly used at the Denver VA Medical Center, VA health clinics in Colorado Springs and the Denver suburb of Golden. The ...

U.S. attorney general declines to prosecute EPA employee in center of pollution scandal

The Environmental Protection Agency employee in the thick of the scandal that polluted three U.S. rivers due to a Colorado mine wastewater spill will not face prosecution, the U.S. Attorney General’s office says. The Washington Examiner has the details: The EPA's Office of Inspector General said Wednesday that it found evidence the unnamed employee may have violated the Clean Water Act and given false statements. But spokesman Jeff Ladga said the Justice Department will not pursue the case. Instead, the case will be sent to the agency's leaders. "The EPA is required to report to the Office of Inspector General any administrative action taken ...

Study: Common Core benefits to students, educators ‘elusive’

Recent analysis released last month of federal funding for Common Core standards shows the only winners of its implementation are not students but those who set the draft the curriculum and set the agenda. The Washington Times has the details: The study, titled “Smart Money? Philanthropic and Federal Funding for the Common Core,” was released in September by the Education Policy Analysis Archives. It concludes, “In essence, those who set directions for the Common Core and those who provided resources for its implementation have benefited, even as potential benefits to schools, educators, and students are elusive, and the entire claim may ...

IRS persists in singling out, delaying tea-party groups’ tax-exempt-status applications

Authorities at the Internal Revenue Service after promising to speed up processing on long-in-limbo tax-exempt-status applications of conservative groups is reversing course and doubling down on their demands for additional documentation. The Washington Times has the scoop: More jarringly, the IRS then publicly released one of the sets of questions it sent to the Texas Patriots Tea Party — a move the group’s lawyer says puts secret taxpayer return information, supposed to be protected, out in the public. Tax experts say the IRS may be on safe legal ground, since the filing was made as part of a court case, and that’s one of the few narrow ...

Labor Department orders private companies with federal contracts to give employees up to seven sick days

Officials at the Labor Department Thursday ruled federal contractors – private companies who contract with the federal government like Humana, General Electric, General Dynamics, Hewlett-Packard Company, MIT, AT&T, the list goes on – are required to give employees up to seven days of sick time annually, allegedly creating a new benefit for more than 650,000 workers. The Washington Examiner has the story: In addition to the new Labor rule, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission announced that starting in March, it will collect new data from employers that will let it improve investigations of possible pay discrimination… The EEOC ...

Bill demands stronger protections for VA whistleblowers

Congressional plans to encourage Veterans Affairs employees to speak out against departmental abuses like waste and negligence – and shield such whistleblowers from retaliation – may soon be put to a vote. Stars and Stripes has the story: A long-stalled plan in Congress to strengthen protections for Veterans Affairs Department employees who disclose waste and misconduct – and to punish officials who retaliate against them – is poised to hitch a ride to enactment this week on the high-priority measure to head off a partial government shutdown… While the measure would continue funding most government operations only through Dec. 9, the ...

Senators seeking answers in case of vet who allegedly committed suicide while on VA waiting list

 U.S. Senators Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) and Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) Tuesday requested an investigation into a report an Army veteran committed suicide when he was awaiting care for post-traumatic-stress disorder from those at a Veterans Affairs office in Colorado Springs, Colo. The department will work with the inspector general and the senators to determine what happened, agency spokesman Paul Sherbo said. The senators did not identify the soldier who killed himself but said he was 26 and had served as an Army Ranger. Gardner said he wanted to avoid a repeat of a 2014 scandal over long wait times that veterans endured to get health care, and ...