CONGRESSWOMAN ELISE STEFANIK
On Monday, July 11, 2016, the House will consider H.R. 4785, the DHS Stop Asset and Vehicle Excess Act, as amended, under suspension of the rules. H.R. 4785 was introduced on March 17, 2016 by Rep. Scott Perry (R-PA) and was referred to the Committee on Homeland Security, which ordered the bill to be reported by voice vote on March 23, 2016.
H.R. 4785 seeks to improve management of the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) vehicle fleet by requiring the Under Secretary for Management (USM) to, among other things, provide Departmental components with a standardized vehicle allocation methodology. Each component must utilize the methodology to develop and inform vehicle allocation tools and fleet management plans, and to oversee decision-making regarding vehicle fleets throughout the Department.
This bill contains four specific elements that address significant challenges the Department faces with managing the second largest civilian vehicle fleet in the Federal government. Specifically, this bill establishes: (1) authority at the headquarters level over component vehicle fleets; (2) requirements for components to more rigorously evaluate their fleets on an ongoing basis; (3) penalties if components do not adhere to the requirements of the bill; and (4) a requirement for DHS to identify alternative methods for managing component fleets.
In Fiscal Year 2014, DHS had the second largest civilian vehicle fleet in the Federal government, owning or leasing roughly 53,000 vehicles that cost approximately $462 million to operate. Currently, agencies within DHS largely manage their own fleets.
The DHS Office of Inspector General (OIG) previously issued findings and recommendations to improve the Department’s vehicle fleet management. In 2013, the OIG reported that although DHS had attempted to establish policies regarding employees’ use of vehicles from home to work, the Department did not adequately monitor or oversee that process. Since neither DHS nor the components tracked, monitored, or reported home-to-work transportation-related activities, the OIG reported that the Department may be limited in its ability to detect waste and abuse.
In 2014, the OIG found that DHS did not effectively manage components’ fleet operations because it did not have the necessary authority to oversee them. Since components manage their own fleets and had their own operational budgets, they were able to make independent decisions about their vehicle fleets. According to the OIG, this dynamic has resulted in some components not adhering to Executive Branch or Departmental guidance related to the management of vehicle fleets, which places taxpayer dollars at risk of waste. As a result, the OIG has reported that DHS is unable to ensure that the Department’s vehicle fleet is the optimal size or that vehicles are properly justified to support mission needs. In 2015, the OIG reported that the USM should ensure that components document fleet management decisions because one particular component, the Federal Protective Service (FPS), made fleet management decisions on an ad hoc basis, which contributed to FPS having more vehicles than officers to operate them. The OIG found that about half of the vehicles in FPS’s fleet were underutilized, or had fewer than 12,000 miles. Similarly, according to data provided by DHS to this Committee, nearly two-thirds of the vehicles in the Department’s overall fleet were driven fewer than 12,000 miles in fiscal year 2015.
According to the bill’s sponsor, “The management failures outlined in the IG’s report demonstrate a culture of waste by DHS regarding taxpayer money. That is reprehensible and unacceptable. Since the IG only reviewed one year of data, it’s safe to say FPS wasted millions more in previous years; maybe even tens of millions. Putting a new policy in place doesn’t cut it. DHS must hold employees that waste taxpayer dollars accountable. Every dollar wasted on mismanagement is one less that goes to actually protecting the public. The American people will not stand for such management malpractice.”
 See House Report 114-494 at 5.
 Statement of Subcommittee Chairman Scott Perry (R-PA) Oversight and Management Efficiency Subcommittee of the House Homeland Security Committee “Driving Away with Taxpayer Dollars: DHS’s Failure to Effectively Manage the FPS Vehicle Fleet.” December 3, 2015.
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that implementing H.R. 4785 would cost about $2 million in fiscal year 2017 and about $1 million annually thereafter, assuming appropriation of the necessary amounts. Because enacting the legislation would not affect direct spending or revenues, pay-as-you-go procedures do not apply. Further, CBO estimates that enacting H.R. 4785 would not increase net direct spending or on-budget deficits in any of the four consecutive 10-year periods beginning in 2027.
For questions or further information please contact Jake Vreeburg with the House Republican Policy Committee by email or at 5-0190.