Subcommittee Continues Oversight of USDA's Operations to Ensure Proper Use of Taxpayer Funds

Dec 1, 2011

Tamara Hinton, 202.225.0184

WASHINGTON – Today, Rep. Jeff Fortenberry, Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee's Subcommittee on Department Operations, Oversight, and Credit held a public hearing to review updates to the audits of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Inspector General. These audits include Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) fraud detection and USDA's use of additional funding for information technology to improve program delivery. The hearing is a continuation of oversight efforts to ensure proper use of taxpayer funds.

Members of the Subcommittee took testimony from USDA's Inspector General and asked questions regarding four recently released reports. One regards the Federal Information Security Management Act, the "FISMA Report," which addresses general information technology security issues, but not program delivery. The other reports include an analysis of the SNAP Anti-Fraud Database and SNAP eligibility data for Kansas and Florida. Members emphasized the importance of completing reports in a timely fashion and questioned the Inspector General's process for these efforts.

"SNAP is an important program for meeting basic food security needs in this country. We have an important responsibility to oversee proper use and management of the program. Timely and comprehensive data from the Office of the Inspector General greatly assists these efforts," said Chairman Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE).

"As Ranking Member of the Agriculture Subcommittee on Department Operations, Oversight, and Credit, identifying and preventing fraud in USDA programs is one of my highest priorities.  Despite challenges with fraud, Americans in communities across the nation are struggling and SNAP plays a critical role in meeting this great need.  I am committed to seeing that SNAP benefits remain in the hands of citizens in need and not those who misuse the program," said Ranking Member Marcia L. Fudge (D-OH).

Written testimony provided by the witness is linked below.

Witness List:

Panel I

The Honorable Phyllis K. Fong, Inspector General, Office of Inspector General, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Washington, D.C.

Accompanied by:

Ms. Karen Ellis, Assistant Inspector General for Investigations, Office of Inspector General, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Washington, D.C.

Mr. Gil Harden, Assistant Inspector General for Audit, Office of the Inspector General, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Washington, D.C.