UPDATE (07/17/19): The House has passed HR 1847, the legislation now moves to the Senate for consideration.
Inspectors General (IGs) provide nonpartisan oversight of government agencies to ensure responsible use of taxpayer dollars. In fiscal year 2016 alone, IGs identified over $45 billion in savings, representing a $17 return for every $1 spent on IG operations. IGs also investigate wrongdoing at federal agencies. IG investigations helped expose former Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price’s wasteful spending, former EPA administrator Scott Pruitt’s raft of ethics violations, and former Department of Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s inappropriate land dealings, resulting in the resignation of all three cabinet members.
Of the 73 IGs across federal agencies, there are currently 12 agencies that lack a permanent IG appointment by the president, including the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). In order to close that gap and force the White House to appoint IGs, Reps. Ted Lieu (D-CA) and Jody Hice (R-GA) have introduced H.R. 1847, the Inspector General Protection Act. The legislation requires a president to notify Congress when an IG vacancy has lasted longer than 210 days, including the reasons why no one has been nominated and a target date for a nomination. It also requires congressional reporting within 30 days if an IG has a change of status, such as being placed on administrative leave.
Inspectors General ensure tax dollars are used as efficiently as possible and provide essential oversight to government agencies. H.R. 1847 would require presidents to take IG nominations seriously and make them an administrative priority.