CONGRESSWOMAN ELISE STEFANIK
On Wednesday, December 12, 2012, the House is scheduled to consider, S. 1998, the DHS Audit Requirement Target (DART) Act of 2012, under a suspension of the rules, requiring a two-thirds majority vote for approval. The bill was introduced by Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA) on December 15, 2011, and was referred to the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. The bill was approved in the Senate, with amendment, by unanimous consent on November 28, 2012.
S. 1998 would require that the Secretary of Homeland Security prepare and have ready for submission all the relevant documents related to the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) full set of financial statements by the end of fiscal year 2013. The bill would also order DHS to report to Congress on the progress of meeting the audit requirements. Such report would include a plan:
(1) to obtain an unqualified opinion on the full set of financial statements, which shall discuss plans and resources needed to meet the deadlines of the bill;
(2) that addresses how the Department will eliminate material weaknesses and significant deficiencies in internal controls over financial reporting and provide deadlines for the elimination of such weaknesses and deficiencies; and
(3) to modernize the financial management systems of the Department, including timelines, goals, alternatives, and costs of the plan, which shall include consideration of alternative approaches, including modernizing the existing financial management systems and associated financial controls of the Department and establishing new financial management systems and associated financial controls.
According to Senate report 112-230, “Since its inception almost ten years ago, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS or the Department) has been unable to obtain a so-called clean or unqualified audit of its financial statements—that is, a finding by an objective reviewer that the Department's finances are in conformity with generally accepted accounting standards. S. 1998 seeks to remedy that situation by directing the Department to take the steps necessary to obtain a clean audit by the end of fiscal year 2013. So that Congress can monitor and oversee DHS's efforts in this area, the bill also requires DHS to provide Congress with specific details on its plans to achieve a clean audit, through eliminating material weaknesses in its internal financial controls and by modernizing its financial management systems.”
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that implementing S. 1998 would have no significant cost to the federal government. Enacting the legislation would not affect direct spending or revenues; therefore, pay-as-you-go procedures do not apply.