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Senate Committee Votes to Advance Hassan-Backed Legislation to Strengthen Government Oversight

WASHINGTON – The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee today advanced Hassan-backed legislation to strengthen protections for Inspectors General (IGs) who conduct independent oversight of federal agencies. The legislation, which is led by Senators Gary Peters (D-MI) and Rob Portman (R-OH), includes important measures introduced by Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH) to strengthen independent oversight of the federal government.


“Our democracy works better when we hold government accountable and root out waste, fraud, and abuse,” said Senator Hassan. “Yet Inspectors General cannot complete their investigations and fully evaluate government programs if witnesses refuse to cooperate. I am glad that this committee passed bipartisan legislation that includes my proposal with Sen. Grassley (R-IA) to allow Inspectors General to subpoena the witness testimony necessary to carry out an investigation. This bipartisan bill will strengthen government oversight and help ensure that taxpayer dollars are put to good use.”


The Inspector General Independence and Empowerment Act that Senator Hassan and committee colleagues passed today includes a measure that Senator Hassan authored to provide federal watchdogs the authority to subpoena former federal employees, as well as contractors and grantees, for in-person testimony, to enable them to complete investigations and help strengthen their ability to safeguard taxpayer dollars.


The bill would also require any administration to provide a “substantive rationale, including detailed and case-specific reasons” prior to removing an IG to help prevent politically-motivated terminations, which is based off a bipartisan bill that Senator Hassan joined in introducing earlier this year. Additionally, the bill includes a measure from Senators Hassan and Chuck Grassley (R-IA) to reduce the time-consuming and outdated reporting burdens on the nation’s top government watchdogs.


The Committee also passed additional bipartisan bills cosponsored by Senator Hassan that would help reduce waste, fraud, and abuse in the federal government.


  • The Keep the Watchdogs Running Act would give Offices of Inspectors General (OIG) authority to continue oversight of agency operations during a government shutdown.


  • The Access to Congressionally Mandated Reports Act would increase government transparency by establishing a publicly accessible website with a library of all non-confidential agency reports mandated by the legislative branch.


These bills are part of Senator Hassan’s ongoing efforts to cut waste, fraud, and abuse and save taxpayer dollars through supporting the Inspector General community. The government funding bill that was passed into law last year included Senator Hassan’s Authorization Act, which permanently established an online hub of information about Inspectors General and their work. The 2020 funding bill also included the Stopping Improper Payments to Deceased People Act, which Senator Hassan cosponsored, to curb federal improper payments to the deceased and save taxpayer dollars. Furthermore, in 2019, President Trump signed into law bipartisan legislation introduced by Senators Hassan and Bill Cassidy (R-LA) to close a loophole in the Medicaid rebate program that results in big pharmaceutical companies overcharging taxpayers. The bipartisan legislation will save taxpayers approximately $3.1 billion over the next 10 years.