The Department of Homeland Security's watchdog says cuts to his office proposed by President Trump "make little sense" and "diminish" his office's ability to conduct oversight. He later thanked appropriators for restoring funding to "our requested levels."
“These proposed cuts would make little sense given the contributions inspectors general make,” DHS Inspector General John Roth told the House Oversight Committee on Wednesday, citing a study from the Brookings Institution’s Center for Effective Public Management that found “cuts to OIG budgets actually cost the government money and contribute to the federal deficit.”
Trump’s request decreased the DHS OIG budget by 10 percent, which Roth said would have caused his workforce to not meet its 2018 mission requirements.
“At the same time, the president’s budget cuts the OIG budget, it included significant increases in traditionally high-risk areas at DHS such as U.S. Customs and Border Protection [15 percent increase] and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement [17 percent increase],” Roth told the House panel. “Growth in high-risk areas results in increased risk, and in this situation, the increased risk is compounded by the decrease in oversight.”
Roth said the cuts are “all the more puzzling” following Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney’s testimony during his confirmation hearing in January in which he praised the work of inspectors general and vowed commitment to them from the Trump administration.
In the last fiscal year, work by inspectors general across the federal government saved $26.3 billion, according to a report by the Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency.
Roth thanked the House for passing an appropriations bill in recent weeks that does give his office funds “at our requested levels.”
“We hope the Senate will follow the House’s lead in this matter. However, other OIGs may not have been as fortunate as us, and are facing budget cuts that will compromise their missions,” Roth concluded.