From the House Committee on Agriculture:
Today, the House Agriculture Committee held a public hearing to conduct general oversight of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack testified, taking questions from committee members on various programs and projects the department manages and executes. Members referenced reports by USDA Inspector General Phyllis Fong (OIG) and the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO).
“I appreciate Secretary Vilsack’s time and cooperation today as the committee held its first oversight hearing since I became chairman. It is incumbent on our committee to conduct robust oversight and ensure that USDA is using taxpayer dollars in a responsible, efficient manner. I am greatly concerned by the IG’s findings that reveal considerable failure in two important areas – namely IT management and the mismanagement of certain cooperative agreements and grants. Further, the Department has not implemented certain recommendations of the IG in these areas. The Department has failed to rectify these problems by recovering taxpayer dollars or holding those responsible accountable. I hope our increased efforts to highlight matters like these will encourage better stewardship of the Department’s resources. Our nation’s farmers, ranchers, and all taxpayers, deserve to know their hard-earned tax dollars are being used appropriately,” said Chairman K. Michael Conaway, Chairman of the Agriculture Committee.