On February 14, Federal officials began a 100 city tour around the nation in "support of urban revitalization." The first stop for the tour was Beaverton, Oregon for a day long symposium to “discuss how government agencies, nonprofits and businesses can help the city.”
Federal leaders will meet with representatives in 99 other cities to “pair several programs with local needs.”
Yesterday, Senator Tom Coburn R-OK, sent a letter to the White House Office of Management and Budget asking them to cancel their “federal largess” tour. Coburn writes:
Much is being made about the possible impact of sequestration on government programs for the poor and middle class, food safety, and the defense of our nation. It is somewhat surprising, therefore, for the White House to be headlining a 100 city government spending tour, transporting representatives from multiple departments and various agencies around the country to promote federal largess. If Washington is truly cutting spending on missions many consider vital, how can we at the same time promise and promote more financial assistance, much less afford this mammoth 100 city cross country tour?
Some of the government agencies visiting Beaverton to promote their programs are: the EPA, the Department of Transportation, HUD, the White House, the Federal Highway Administration and the Department of Labor.
Beaverton Mayor Deeny Doyle said "The city deserves no less than trying to get ourselves help from the federal government."
Senator Coburn’s letter points out that that since 2011, Beaverton has received almost $2 million in federal grants and assistance. Coburn has requested the following information from the WH Office of Management and Budget about the costs of the tour:
- The total cost to the federal government for participation and support of the Beaverton Revitalization Roundtable;
- The total number of federal employees who traveled to Beaverton for the Revitalization Roundtable; and
- A complete listing of the other locations on the 100 city tour along with the dates for each event, an estimate of the number of federal employees attending each event, the projected or actual cost of each event, and a total estimated cost of the entire 100 city tour initiative including planning, travel, and staff time.
The entire text of Senator Coburn's letter can be found here.
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