Entries in Report (4)


White House Working Towards Response After Reported Syria Gassing

Joshua Roberts/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- In light of the reported chemical attack in Syria this week, the White House has been busy meeting and discussing possible responses to the alleged actions of President Bashar al-Assad's government.

While Syria is unlikely to grant the U.S. access to facts and evidence, the White House spent most of Friday working to fill in the gaps around the reports. The Syrian opposition has been helpful in providing evidence to the U.S. government.

A senior official told ABC News that the administration is "taking a look at options" that include missile strikes and providing arms to the rebels. With that said, sending American soldiers to Syria is not -- and will not be -- an option.

The official said that the meetings were different from past administration rhetoric, in that it is more urgent. The potential large death tolls could represent either a major escalation or proof that Assad has lost control of his country's chemical weapons.

While administration officials hope to have a decision in the near future, "there is no timeline."

The official told ABC News that whatever action the U.S. takes must serve to advance the U.S. strategy and goals in Syria and should take into consideration the potential consequences.

Meanwhile, Secretary of State John Kerry spent much of Friday making phone calls to a number of foreign representatives. In speaking with foreign ministers and secretaries from Europe and the Middle East, as well as representatives from the United Nations, the European Union and the Arab League, Kerry reiterated the United States' commitment to gather the pertinent facts surrounding the events of this past week.

A statement from a senior State Department official additionally expressed American "concern and outrage over the disturbing reports, photos and videos we have seen, which shock the conscience."

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Herman Cain Campaign Releases Finance Report

Steve Pope/Getty Images(STOCKBRIDGE, Ga.) -- With the July 15 Federal Election Commission financial reporting deadline approaching, Republican presidential hopeful Herman Cain has released his first campaign finance report.

According to a release from the Cain campaign, the former chairman and CEO of Godfather’s Pizza has raised over $2.46 million and his campaign is debt free.

“I am pleased to announce that our campaign has absolutely no debt,” Cain said in a statement.

“In my career as a business executive, I employed sound economic principles of fiscal responsibility that I will maintain throughout my campaign. I hope to set an example to those in Washington who should be doing the same,” he went on to say.

Campaign officials say Cain has received contributions from over 27,000 individuals from all 50 states, with donations ranging from $1 to $2,500.

“I am humbled by the trust so many have put in me and assure them I will never forget where I come from, what I stand for and what matters to us as Americans,” Cain said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Exclusive: Taxpayer Money Spent on Shrimp on Treadmills

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- You've probably heard of shrimp on the barbie, but what about shrimp on a treadmill?

The National Science Foundation has, and it spent $500,000 of taxpayer money researching it.  It's not entirely clear what this research hoped to establish, but it's one of a number of projects cited in a scathing new report from Sen. Tom Coburn, a Republican from Oklahoma, exclusively obtained by ABC News.

It's not just shrimp on a treadmill.  The foundation spent $1.5 million to create a robot that can fold laundry.  But before you try to buy one to save some time, consider that it takes the robot 25 minutes to fold a single towel.

The list goes on.  Lots of people love to use FarmVille on Facebook, but lots of people probably don't love the government's spending $300,000 in taxpayer money to study whether it helps build personal relationships.

"What it says to me is, they have too much money if they're going to spend money on things like that," Coburn said in an interview.

But there's more.  The National Science Foundation has its headquarters in Arlington, Virginia, just across the river from Washington, D.C., a building it pays $19 million a year to rent.  But now that the 20-year lease is nearly up, it has decided that it is time to move; into a new building that will cost $26 million annually to rent.

Even gelatin wrestling has been the subject of an agency project -- in Antarctica, no less.  The foundation notes that the project is the work of contractors, not agency employees.

Whatever the case might be, Coburn said, the situation is another example that federal spending has gotten out of control.

"We have 12 different agencies doing pure research, and we're duplicating and we're not sharing the information across and it's siloed," he said.

In response to Coburn's report, the National Science Foundation launched a vigorous defense of its projects.  Agency officials said they "have advanced the frontiers of science and engineering, improved Americans' lives, and provided the foundations for countless new industries and jobs."

And the facts back up that statement.  One agency project helped lead to the creation of Google, while another led to the invention of bar codes.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Report: Duplication, Waste Costs Taxpayers Billions Each Year

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- With Congress currently embroiled in a contentious spending fight, a congressional watchdog has found that a staggering level of duplication is plaguing the bloated federal budget -- and chewing up billions of dollars in funding every year.

In a new report obtained by ABC News, the Government Accountability Office determined that “reducing or eliminating duplication, overlap, or fragmentation could potentially save billions of taxpayer dollars annually and help agencies provide more efficient and effective services.”

For instance, the GAO found, the Department of Defense could save up to $460 million every year by undertaking a “broader restructuring” of its military health care system.

The cost of such programs with duplicative and overlapping purposes is eye-opening. The military came in for special scrutiny: over $10 billion on defense-wide business systems every year; $49 billion in military and veterans health services; and at least $76 billion since 2005 in urgent processing systems for the military.

But the military is by no means alone. The Department of Transportation listed $58 billion dollars for over 100 separate surface transportation programs. And the Treasury Department listed almost $1 trillion in government-wide tax expenditures, some of which the GAO found “may be ineffective at achieving their social or economic purposes.”

“Considering the amount of program dollars involved in the issues we have identified, even limited adjustments could result in significant savings,” the GAO said.

According to the GAO, not only has Congress been busy spending money on duplicative efforts, but the government has neglected to investigate numerous programs, making the expenditure of some funds not only redundant but wasteful.

For instance, only five of 47 job training and employment programs surveyed by the GAO had been studied to evaluate whether outcomes were the result of the program itself or another cause altogether.

“Little is known about the effectiveness of most programs,” the watchdog observed.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio 

ABC News Radio