U.S. Rep. Ron Barber today questioned expert witnesses on reports of problems with management and management priorities in the Department of Homeland Security.
Barber today attended his first hearing as ranking member of the Committee on Homeland Security's Subcommittee on Oversight and Management Efficiency. He used the opportunity to raise questions about management concerns and a lack of strategy within the Department of Homeland Security and the Border Patrol.
In a question directed at Richard Nelson of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, Barber asked about a study conducted by the Partnership for Public Service that found DHS ranked 19 out of 19 large federal agencies in a survey of overall employee satisfaction.
Barber said he has heard from agents in the Tucson Sector of the Border Patrol about examples of ineffective leadership and mismanagement from headquarters -- including claims that agents have been unable to purchase uniforms they need.
The subcommittee on which Barber holds a leadership position was holding a hearing to examine how wisely DHS is spending taxpayers' money.
There are three videos of Barber at the subcommittee meeting:
Barber's opening statement can be seen here:
Barber questioning a witness about resources for Border Patrol agents and employee morale can be seen here:
Barber questioning a witnesses on results of a General Accountability Office report on Border Patrol strategies and resources can be seen here:
Barber today also voted against a House motion to adjourn for 10 days.
"I have plenty to do in Southern Arizona and am looking forward to hearing from my constituents -- but we have unfinished business here in Washington," Barber said today. "On March 1, large, across-the-board budget cuts will go into effect. We should be staying here and working to avert those cuts which will damage economic growth and cost jobs."
Barber noted that when the House returns to Washington on Feb. 25, there will be only four days left to work on legislation to prevent the cuts, known as sequestration.
"Our constituents don't walk away when their jobs get tough and neither should Congress," Barber said. "The men and women of Southern Arizona want us to stay here and address this issue and I am opposed to this adjournment."
Barber today also joined all of his Democratic colleagues from Arizona and 102 other House members in signing a letter to President Obama opposing cuts in Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid benefits.