Subcommittee Examines Challenges at Federal Science Agencies

Feb 28, 2013

Washington, D.C. — The Subcommittee on Oversight today held a hearing to provide Members of the Subcommittee the opportunity to receive testimony on the most serious performance and management challenges facing the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the National Science Foundation (NSF), and the Department of Commerce (DOC) from the perspective of the Inspectors General (IG) of the respective agencies.

Oversight Subcommittee Chairman Paul Broun M.D. (R-Ga.): “This hearing will help us, as an authorizing Committee, to coordinate with the Appropriations Committee by identifying programs, projects and activities that work, as opposed to those that need to be modified or perhaps eliminated.

“This exercise of deliberating over a program’s performance and challenges is a particularly timely one because as you all know starting tomorrow, federal agencies will do the exact opposite, and implement across-the-board indiscriminate funding cuts as a result of the sequester.  The House of Representatives, on more than one occasion, has tried to offer a solution to prevent these cuts from taking place, but we’ve hit a wall with the Senate and the Administration.”

The Department of Commerce, which includes the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the National Weather Service (NWS), has been the focus of the Science, Space, and Technology Committee over the last year regarding claims of illegal financial mismanagement.  That culminated in a September 2012 hearing, for which the Oversight Subcommittee still has not received agency responses to questions submitted for the record. 

This is the first of two hearings planned prior to the Committee’s review of the Administration’s fiscal year 2014 budget request.

The following witnesses testified:
Mr. Paul K. Martin, Inspector General, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Office of Inspector General

Ms. Allison C. Lerner, Inspector General, National Science Foundation, Office of Inspector General

Mr. David Smith, Deputy Inspector General, U.S. Department of Commerce, Office of Inspector General