Use It Or Lose It, USDA Spends $140K On Toner Prior to US Shutdown

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Use It Or Lose It, USDA Spends $140K On Toner Prior to US Shutdown

 user 2013-10-01 at 1:45:24 pm Views: 162
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    Use It Or Lose It, USDA Spends  $140K  On Toner  Prior to US Shutdown 
    Use It Or Lose It: USDA Buys $140K In Printer Ink, Other Government Agencies Go On Budget-Year-End Spending Spree
    By: David A. Fahrenthold

    This past week, the Department of Veterans Affairs bought $562,000 worth of artwork.

    In a single day, the Agriculture Department spent $144,000 on toner cartridges.

    And, in a single purchase, the Coast Guard spent $178,000 on “Cubicle Furniture Rehab.”

    This string of big-ticket purchases was an unmistakable sign: It was “use it or lose it” season again in Washington.

    All week, while Congress fought over next year’s budget, federal workers were immersed in a separate frantic drama. They were trying to spend the rest of this year’s budget before it is too late.

    The reason for their haste is a system set up by Congress that, in many cases, requires agencies to spend all their allotted funds by Sept. 30.

    If they don’t, the money becomes worthless to them on Oct. 1. And — even worse — if they fail to spend the money now, Congress could dock their funding in future years. The incentive, as always, is to spend.

    So they spent. It was the return of one of Washington’s oldest bad habits: a blitz of expensive decisions, made by agencies with little incentive to save.

    “Use it or lose it” season is not marked on any official government calendars. But in Washington, it is as real as Christmas. And as lucrative. And — it appears — about as permanent.