While some federal programs are being held to 2022 funding levels — or lower — in the House’s appropriation bills, inspector general offices for the U.S. Department of State and United States Agency for International Development would see increases, according to the House’s fiscal 2024 state and foreign operations bill.

The offices, which review federal programs and agencies to ensure that taxpayer dollars are being spent efficiently, would be funded at or above 2023 enacted levels, according to the bill, which will be discussed in a hearing Friday.

Neither the State Department nor USAID have Senate-confirmed inspectors general, though each acting official testified before Congress that their agencies have suffered from staffing shortages due to slim budgets in recent years. State currently has the second longest pending vacancy.

Appropriations committees in the House and Senate are currently in the process of tweaking, or “marking up,” bills for approval by the committees, so it’s not yet clear whether any of these provisions will make it into the final version that must be passed by Oct. 1, the start of the new fiscal year.

According to Republicans, increased budgets for inspectors general will “rein in” the bureaucracy. Though inspectors general do work closely with Congress on potentially fraudulent spending or inefficient programs, they are independent and apolitical investigators that do not work on behalf of any party.

At the State Department, acting inspector general Diana Shaw testified in March that the office’s budget has been stagnant in recent years to the point where the office had to freeze hiring for the first nine months of 2022.

Her office received $13.5 million in supplemental funding for oversight of efforts in Ukraine that will be available through next fiscal year, but a consistent budget is necessary, she said, because the agency also monitors U.S. embassies and cybersecurity.

Shaw also said a plump budget would help the agency make use of direct hire authority in lieu of current selection requirements that add months to the onboarding process.

Overall, the House’s state and foreign operations bill for 2024 would be 24% below the president’s budget request and 12% below the 2023 enacted level.

Molly Weisner is a staff reporter for Federal Times where she covers labor, policy and contracting pertaining to the government workforce. She made previous stops at USA Today and McClatchy as a digital producer, and worked at The New York Times as a copy editor. Molly majored in journalism at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

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