Senators: Go Easy on Use-it-or-lose-it Spending

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Washington Report

A bipartisan quartet of senators has cautioned government agencies to avoid waste and abuse when quickly spending remaining budgets as the end of the fiscal year approaches, Federal Times reports.

Typically, federal agencies try to empty their budgets of usable funds before the fiscal year ends, fearing Congress will provide them with fewer dollars in the next budget cycle. Reports show federal agencies spent more than $11 billion in the final week of fiscal 2017. The publication said eight agencies have up to 40 percent of their budgets remaining in the final month of fiscal 2018. The budget was signed only in March due to delays in reaching an agreement.

The lawmakers sent a letter to 13 agencies warning them to be careful.

“Historically, federal agencies increase spending during the fourth quarter of the fiscal year,” they wrote. “Although not a new phenomenon, use it or lose it spending can lead to waste and abuse of tax dollars.”

The letter was signed by Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., the chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., the committee’s ranking member, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., the chairman of the panel’s subcommittee on federal spending oversight, and Sen. Gary Peters, D-Mich., the subcommittee’s ranking member.