I bet you thought I was never going to show up again, didn’t you? Bwa-ha-ha. It was just a vacation. You’re still stuck with me, America.
You’re also stuck with Congress, which you may like only slightly less than me, and this week, Congress is readying for it’s biggest battle yet, over funding for the Department of Homeland Security in return for Barack Obama forgetting all about that little Executive Amnesty order that has since been stayed by a Texas Federal court. While the Republicans and Democrats fight over whether DHS is using their money wisely, and whether important programs will suffer as a result of a temporary funding halt, the Department of Homeland Security, it seems, is less than concerned. After all, it’s not immigration enforcement of the Transportation Safety Administration they’re worried about losing the cash for.
Funding for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS)—which is due to expire at the end of this week unless an agreement in Washington is reached—has continued to rise under President Barack Obama. His administration claims the agency’s increased funding is necessary to protect the homeland, but records show that the DHS has continued to increase its spending on furniture and office makeovers as its budget has been increased.
A review of records on the official government spending website by the Washington Free Beacon shows the agency has spent nearly $150 million on office furniture and makeovers since Obama took office. Those fiscal years for which he has been responsible and whose budgets have been enacted are FY2010 through 2014…
Records show that the DHS spent $147.7 million on furniture for FY 2010 through 2014.
Examples of some of the contracts reviewed show that $4.1 million was spent for “nationwide field furniture management services contract”; $1.3 million for “systems furniture” for its Laguan Niguel, Calif., location; and $1.1 million for furniture for an office in Vermont.
In fiscal year 2014, the DHS had over 1,300 contracts labeled “office furniture” on the spending website. DHS spent nearly $28 million for furniture in that fiscal year alone.
Those contracts include $2.4 million for office furniture for a Washington, D.C., office. That contract was signed on Sept. 26, 2014 and Miller’s of Columbia in North Carolina was the recipient.
Another contract shows $163,856 was spent for “waiting room seating” for one office. That contract was signed on May 5, 2014.
The DHS also spent $148,809 on “aluminum folding tables in support of Sandy Recovery Office” according to the contract for a New York office signed in 2014. Hurricane Sandy occurred in 2012.
Other high contract amounts include $1.3 million spent on “office furniture and related items” for an office in New York.
I think the “furniture management services” that clock in at $1.3M is the best expenditure on this list. After all, when you’re spending millions on furniture, you should probably have an entire agency with a more-than-a-million-dollar budget just to administer the program, right?
According to the Federal budget, the DHS’s allocation is about $10 billion higher now than it was at the end of George W. Bush’s term. If you consider how much harder it appears to have been working in those days, the fact that DHS is looking at a cool $60.2 billion in funding might make you a little miffed. But you have to think about it from their perspective. Even if everyone in DHS is legally required to show up for work whether Congress has approved continuing funding or not, the offices they’ll show up to are probably downright shabby. That $10M could go a long way towards updating and remodeling their facilities to ensure a necessary comfort level.
Granted, the budget fight is about more than DHS’s wasteful spending. It’s about the cornerstone purpose of a three-branch government. But it’s always nice to know that government agencies live up to your worst expectations.
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