Saturday, August 19, 2006

The "secret" blockage of S.2590

Ace is in a tizzy and speculating wildly about the perpetrator of the "secret" blockage[Federal Times] of S.2590. Well, there's a few things about S.2590[] that bother me, but they're probably not the reason its blocked. The bill, as it exists now, is clearly a not very well thought out "quickie" that needs a lot of work before any reasonable person would consider actually voting on it. To my uneducated moronic eyes, this bill looks a lot (lack of substance wise) like the originally proposed "thin gruel" Brady Bill did before the NRA was done working it over into something that might actually be useful.

As it stands now, S.2590 is just a "feel good" bill that can't possibly deliver the promised goods on the promised timeline. The software and hardware needed to implement this bill will take at least 5 years to put together and have working in any manner that might be called reliable. The bill also creates a situation of people having to do double work since it explicitly forbids just hyperlinking to other federal web sites that already contain similar, though not identical, information.

Some of my beefs with the bill as it exists today:
(II) allows Federal award recipients and subaward recipients to allocate reasonable costs for the collection and reporting of subaward data as indirect costs; ..
That section seems ripe for abuse and padding. If the people writing the checks don't know what they're writing the checks for, then why would we have to pay the recipient(s) to tell us what the check is for? Seriously -- WTF?!?

(e) Exception- Any entity that demonstrates to the Director of the Office of Management and Budget that the gross income, from all sources, for such entity did not exceed $300,000 in the previous tax year of such entity shall be exempt from the requirement to report subawards under subsection (d), until the Director determines that the imposition of such reporting requirements will not cause an undue burden on such entities.
So if the award goes to a smallish outfit or person (like lots of those NSF and NEA grants) all they need to do is say it would cause an undue burden to be bothered reporting on it and its up to the director of OMB to prove that its NOT an undue burden rather than the recipient having to prove it is. This is another WTF?!? -- clearly the authors of this bill intended a large class of recipients to use this loophole to slide through.

All your studies on the sexual habits of the green spotted tree fluke and support for artists who put crosses in jars of urine will slide right by with a wink and a nod because most of those people are making less than $300K/yr...

Of course Sec 2 (a)(2)(B) will let a lot of them off the hook anyway
(B) does not include individual transactions below $25,000;

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