Price Remarks at T-HUD IG Hearing

March 16, 2017
Price Remarks at T-HUD IG Hearing

Washington – Today, Ranking Member David E. Price (NC-04) of the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations Subcommittee hosted Inspectors General Calvin Scovel of the Department of Transportation and David Montoya of the Department of Housing and Urban Development for a subcommittee hearing. The Inspectors General are tasked with providing oversight and investigating the activities of their respective agencies. Ranking Member Price gave the following opening remarks.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.  I join you in welcoming our witnesses here today, Mr. Scovel and Mr. Montoya.  I’ll keep my opening statement relatively brief so we can proceed with questions, but I do want to underscore a few concerns.

This oversight hearing is an important opportunity for us to examine the key management challenges facing the Department of Transportation and the Department of Housing and Urban Development.  Many of these issues are not new. 

For example, HUD has struggled to modernize its IT infrastructure, faced ongoing challenges associated with human capital management, and failed to establish strong internal controls over how it obligates and controls funds.

Meanwhile, the DOT Inspector General has highlighted ongoing challenges associated with the safe integration of new transportation technology—namely, unmanned drones and autonomous vehicles—as well as the Department’s management of certain high-risk contracts.  I look forward to exploring these topics in more detail this morning.

I’m also concerned about the Trump Administration’s painfully slow pace when it comes to the appointments of deputy and assistant secretaries and other high-ranking officials.  It’s impossible to effectively run complex Departments without a strong leadership team in place beneath the Secretary. 

Compounding this problem is the recently announced federal hiring freeze imposed by the Trump Administration, which I believe could threaten core government functions if left in place.  The GAO has noted that across-the-board hiring freezes are almost always counterproductive.

Finally, the Trump Administration to date has shown a blatant disregard for addressing possible conflicts of interest, starting with but not limited to the man at the top.  Oversight is a key function of Congress, but it is especially integral to the work of the Appropriations Committee.  Independent Inspectors General enable this subcommittee to conduct effective oversight and make informed funding decisions that ensure our limited federal dollars are spent wisely.

I look forward to learning more about how HUD and DOT are meeting their management challenges, and where they stand to improve.  Thank you both for being here today.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.