The Internal Revenue Service purchased millions of dollars worth of technology it doesn’t use, according to a new report by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration.
The report shows the IRS spent $1.1 million in fiscal year 2011 on 754 BlackBerry smartphones and 13,878 wireless aircards that are not being used. According to the report, roughly 2,560 IRS employees may have been assigned an aircard or BlackBerry without required management approval. These devices cost the IRS more than $950,000 in fiscal year 2011, or about $4.8 million over five years. So at least we know who exactly is helping to keeping the troubled smart phone company alive. - Read the report here
IS TAX REFORM JUST A PIPEDREAM? Almost definitely, but Rep. Dave Camp, R-MI, and Sen. Max Baucus, D-MT, haven’t gotten that memo and are forging ahead on plans to overhaul the tax code. Last week, Camp as chairman of the Ways & Means Committee launched 11 bipartisan working groups. Meanwhile, on the Senate side, Baucus and his fellow Finance Committee members are working on drafting tax reform legislation to be circulated this spring.- Read more at Politico
BOEHNER PUSHES BACK After President Obama blamed Republicans Tuesday for not working to replace the sequester cuts scheduled to take effect next week, House Speaker John Boehner penned an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal published Tuesday evening, pushing the blame back to the president. “Having first proposed and demanded the sequester, it would make sense that the president lead the effort to replace it. Unfortunately, he has put forth no detailed plan that can pass Congress, and the Senate-controlled by his Democratic allies-hasn't even voted on a solution, let alone passed one…So, as the president's outrage about the sequester grows in coming days, Republicans have a simple response: Mr. President, we agree that your sequester is bad policy. What spending are you willing to cut to replace it?" - Read more at the Wall Street Journal
ON THE ROADS (AGAIN) The White House is expected to reveal more details about the $50 billion infrastructure proposal from the State of the Union. It’s not the first time Obama made this kind of request and he’ll continue to pressure the GOP by giving eight local interviews to TV networks warning of the “dire” impacts to be expected if the sequester cuts take effect next week. - Read more at Bloomberg
PENTAGON TO FURLOUGH CIVILIANS – Departing Defense Secretary Leon notified Panetta about 800,000 non-military personnel that the “vast majority” of them would have to take unpaid leave and could see their salaries drop by as much as 20 percent. - Read more at Bloomberg Businessweek
BELTWAY BRACES FOR THE WORST The Washington Post reports that the cuts could put more than 450,000 local jobs at risk. - Read more at The Washington Post