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Monday, February 14, 2011

Platts zeroes in on agency financials

Two upcoming hearings will set the tone for how House Republicans will oversee federal financial management.
Congressman Todd Platts (R-Pa.) spoke with Federal News Radio in his first interview since being appointed chairman of the Oversight and Government Reform's Subcommittee on Government Organization, Efficiency and Financial Management.
Platts said the first step to ensuring taxpayer money isn't being wasted is seeing how the money is being spent. Starting this week, the subcommittee will hold the first of two hearings on the consolidated financial report - a record of how agencies have handled money.
He said the first hearing, scheduled for Feb. 16, will look at how to make the report more useable for Congress, the administration and the public.

Platts said a second hearing with the report's authors - the Department of the Treasury, the Office of Management and Budget and the Government Accountability Office - will take place on March 9.

He added that information from those hearings will guide the subcommittee in subsequent hearings about more focused topics.

Platts said he hopes agencies will view his subcommittee as an ally in their effort to provide the best services they can.

In addition to agency financial reports, Platts said the subcommittee also will look at performance ratings. He said both factors contribute to determining how efficiently money is spent.

Platts said work the subcommittee already has done with Treasury is proof of the smooth transition. He said the committee is talking to Treasury about strengthening its ability to go after non-tax debt, such as outstanding fines.

Another issue Platts plans to address is improper payments, which he said have ballooned four-fold in four years. He said the estimate for improper payments when he was last chairman was $35 billion - the latest estimate is $125 billion. Platts said this is both good and bad news.

-Meg Beasley, FederalNewsRadio.com

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