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The PJ Tatler

by
Bridget Johnson

Bio

May 20, 2013 - 7:52 am

Even while howling about spending cuts, federal agencies have not acted on a directive last year from the Office of Management and Budget to close out zero-balance bank accounts.

The federal government spends $890,000 each year to maintain 13,000 empty bank accounts.

Sens. Mark Begich (D-Alaska) and Mark Pryor (D-Ark.) wrote OMB director Sylvia Burwell last week to note that “in a time where federal employees are being furloughed and many federal programs are at risk of losing funding, we simply cannot tolerate this type of wasteful spending.”

The senators asked OMB “to exercise its authority and consider implementing methods that would compel federal agencies to work with urgency to close bank accounts that contain a zero balance.”

The pair asked President Obama’s budget arm to provide a plan of action on how they’ll “prevent the continued accrual of wasted fees.”

“I know that $890,000 may not seem like much to some folks here in Washington, but it is this kind of careless spending that angers American taxpayers—and rightly so,” said Begich.

Both Begich and Pryor are up for re-election next year and have been trying to burnish their deficit-cutting credentials. Both are being targeted by liberal groups for voting against recent gun-control efforts in the Senate.

Bridget Johnson is a career journalist whose news articles and opinion columns have run in dozens of news outlets across the globe. Bridget first came to Washington to be online editor at The Hill, where she wrote The World from The Hill column on foreign policy. Previously she was an opinion writer and editorial board member at the Rocky Mountain News and nation/world news columnist at the Los Angeles Daily News. She has contributed to USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, National Review Online, Politico and more, and has myriad television and radio credits as a commentator. Bridget is Washington Editor for PJ Media.

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Don't know Begich's situation but Mark Pryor is in a bit of a pickle, not entirely unlike Sen. Blanche Lincoln in 2010 (she was defeated). Romney carried Arkansas 60-37 over Obama and in the internet era & ease of checking votes, Pryor can't get away with voting liberal in DC & talking conservative back home like his Senator Dad did for years. It may depend on who the Rs put up against him, and although he'll be well funded (like Lincoln was) Pryor has a rough reelection year coming.
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