Carper, Braun Bill Would Ensure Inspectors General Keep Operating During Government Shutdowns

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Tom Carper (D-Del.), senior member of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee (HSGAC), and Mike Braun (R-Ind.) introduced the Keep the Watchdogs Running Act, legislation that would give Offices of Inspectors General (OIG) authority to continue oversight of agency operations during lapses in appropriations. Some agencies across the federal government, including the U.S. Postal Service, the Department of Homeland Security and the Internal Revenue Service, continue limited operations in the event of a shutdown, including functions to protect public health and safety. Many of the OIGs that oversee the agencies on the job during a government shutdown do not have the authority to continue their critical oversight work. This bill would amend the Inspectors General Act of 1978 to authorize OIGs to continue their oversight work in the case of a government shutdown to the extent necessary to oversee agency operations that continue during lapses in appropriations.

Congressman Gerald Connolly (D-Va.), Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Government Operations, and subcommittee Ranking Member Jody Hice (R-Ga.) introduced companion legislation today as well.

A one-pager of the Senate legislation, which includes the full bill text, can be found here.

“Inspectors General help ensure integrity and efficiency across our federal government. Charged with being free from political influence, IG’s investigate reports of waste, fraud and abuse, help provide independent oversight and promote much-needed accountability,” Carper said. “When Congress fails to pass appropriations bills to keep our government running, our IG’s should be able to continue doing the good work they do every day to reduce waste, fraud and abuse across our government. I’m proud to introduce this bill with Senator Braun, and urge my colleagues to join us in this effort.”

“The American people have entrusted Congress with the responsibility to spend taxpayer dollars efficiently and with purpose. During a government shutdown or lapse in appropriations, some federal entities continue to work without oversight: the Keep our Watchdogs Running Act will ensure your money is carefully watched at all times, even during a government shutdown,” Braun said.

“This bipartisan bill will help to ensure that transparency and accountability in government operations do not lapse, even when appropriations do,” Connolly said.

“The Keep our Watchdogs Running Act is essential to ensuring the important work of our OIGs can continue even during times of government shutdown,” Hice said.