Opm Ig Actby Representative Blake Farenthold
Posted on 2014-01-14
FARENTHOLD. Mr. Speaker, I move to suspend the rules and pass the
bill (H.R. 2860) to amend title 5, United States Code, to provide that
the Inspector General of the Office of Personnel Management may use
amounts in the revolving fund of the Office to fund audits,
investigations, and oversight activities, and for other purposes.
The Clerk read the title of the bill.
The text of the bill is as follows: H.R. 2860 Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.
This Act may be cited as the ``OPM IG Act''.
SEC. 2. USE OF OFFICE OF PERSONNEL MANAGEMENT REVOLVING FUND FOR AUDITS, INVESTIGATIONS, AND OVERSIGHT ACTIVITIES.
Subsection (e) of section 1304 of title 5, United States Code, is amended-- [[Page H201]] (1) in paragraph (1), by adding before the period at the end of the first sentence the following: ``, and for the cost of audits, investigations, and oversight activities, conducted by the Inspector General of the Office, of the fund and the activities financed by the fund''; and (2) in paragraph (5)-- (A) by striking ``The Office'' and inserting ``(A) The Office''; and (B) by adding at the end the following: ``(B) Such budget shall include an estimate from the Inspector General of the Office of the amount required to pay the expenses to audit, investigate, and provide other oversight activities with respect to the fund and the activities financed by the fund.
``(C) The amount requested by the Inspector General under subparagraph (B) shall not exceed .33 percent of the total budgetary authority requested by the Office under subparagraph (A).''.
The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to the rule, the gentleman from Texas (Mr. Farenthold) and the gentleman from Maryland (Mr. Cummings) each will control 20 minutes.
The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Texas.
General Leave Mr. FARENTHOLD. Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that all Members may have 5 legislative days within which to revise and extend their remarks and include extraneous materials on the bill under consideration.
The SPEAKER pro tempore. Is there objection to the request of the gentleman from Texas? There was no objection.
Mr. FARENTHOLD. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
H.R. 2860 responds to the Office of Personnel Management Inspector General's call for increased oversight of the OPM's revolving fund by providing the IG access to a portion of that revolving fund moneys for oversight.
H.R. 2860 recognizes oversight as a legitimate business cost by using existing funds to help the IG respond to the increased referrals of alleged fraud within the OPM's revolving fund operations, including especially in the background investigation used to determine an individual's eligibility for a security clearance.
The Office of Personnel Management serves as the regulator for these rules affecting the management of Federal workers, but has also evolved into a fee-based service provider that provides billions of dollars in services each year to the very agencies governed by OPM's rules.
The revolving fund budget has grown significantly over the past 15 years, from $191 million to more than $2 billion today. OPM's revolving fund budget is almost 91 percent of OPM's budget; yet the resources available for the IG to audit these funds have not kept pace with the growing amounts.
For over 30 years, both the General Accountability Office and OPM Inspectors General have been concerned about the management of resources in the revolving fund. Each has issued a number of reports and audits examining various and, often recurring, problems.
Last year, OPM Inspector General McFarland informed the Committee on Government Oversight and Reform of what he described as a ``serious problem'' inhibiting his ability to perform the duties and responsibilities of his office. McFarland stated his office was at a point where it could not meet its statutory obligation to effectively oversee revolving fund activities. He noted that his office had been ``inundated with requests from OPM to audit and/or investigate different parts of revolving fund programs,'' from technical audit work to the continuing flow of allegations involving falsifications of background investigations and abuse of authority.
The OPM Inspector General has investigated a number of cases involving the falsification of background investigations, including reporting of investigations that never occurred, recording answers to questions that were never asked, and documents record checks that were never conducted. Within the military departments at 81 percent of OPM's customer base, these cases have serious national security implications.
Inspector General McFarland testified before the Federal Workforce Subcommittee in June, and he said the OPM's revolving fund programs ``have been operating in the shadows for too long,'' adding the often- cited phrase ``sunshine is the best disinfectant.'' H.R. 2860 would allow the OPM IG to use a portion of the revolving fund moneys to pay for related audit and investigation work. The OPM IG's resources would be limited to one-third of 1 percent of the revolving fund budget, and the IG would be required to submit an annual budget request and report detailing its revolving fund oversight work.
H.R. 2860 provides resources for critical oversight that can be accomplished at relatively low cost, using existing funds.
I urge the adoption of this bipartisan bill, and I reserve the balance of my time.