Antony J. Blinken, Secretary of State
The United States welcomes efforts by Haiti’s political leadership to come together in choosing an interim Prime Minister and a unity cabinet to chart a path forward in the wake of the heinous assassination of Jovenel Moïse. The formation of this interim government is a positive and necessary step to respond to the Haitian people’s needs and begin restoring Haiti’s democratic institutions.
The United States, together with the international community, urges Haiti’s political and civil society leaders to continue to work together to advance a broad and inclusive dialogue that responds to the needs of the Haitian people and lays the groundwork for long-term stability and prosperity.
We remain committed to supporting the Haitian government’s investigation into the assassination of Jovenel Moïse, expanding COVID-19 vaccination efforts, working with the Haitian National Police to promote security and the rule of law, and coordinating with the international community to establish the conditions necessary for Haitians to vote as soon as feasible.
We call on all Haitians to work together to maintain peace and will continue to support the Haitian people as they strive to build a stable, prosperous, and democratic country.
- Justice Department Settles Sexual Harassment Lawsuit Against Property Manager and Owners of California Apartment BuildingsBy Sam NewsAugust 6, 2021The Justice Department announced today that it has reached an agreement to resolve a lawsuit alleging that Filomeno Hernandez, a property manager of residential apartment buildings near MacArthur Park in Los Angeles, violated the federal Fair Housing Act by sexually harassing female tenants since at least 2006.[Read More…]
- The Promise of AmericaBy Sam NewsNovember 10, 2020Michael R. Pompeo, [Read More…]
- The United States Impedes Hizballah Financing by Sanctioning Seven IndividualsBy Sam NewsMay 11, 2021
- Czech Republic Travel AdvisoryBy Sam NewsIn TravelSeptember 26, 2020Reconsider travel to the [Read More…]
- Statement by Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey A. Rosen on the 20th Anniversary of the Enactment of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000By Sam NewsOctober 28, 2020Deputy Attorney General [Read More…]
- Houston man admits to exploiting minors he met onlineBy Sam NewsIn Justice NewsMay 2, 2021A 41-year-old Houstonian [Read More…]
- Kiribati’s National DayBy Sam NewsJuly 9, 2021
- Secretary Antony J. Blinken And Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin With Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga Before Their MeetingBy Sam NewsMarch 16, 2021
- Youth Homelessness: HUD and HHS Could Enhance Coordination to Better Support CommunitiesBy Sam NewsNovember 2, 2021What GAO Found The Departments of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and Health and Human Services (HHS) have taken steps to coordinate their programs that serve youth experiencing homelessness. These programs include HUD's Continuum of Care program, which funds housing and homelessness services for people of all ages in nearly all communities across the country, and HHS's Runaway and Homeless Youth program, which funds emergency shelters, transitional housing, and supportive services for youth in a few hundred communities. For example, HHS was involved in the development of HUD's Youth Homelessness Demonstration Program, which provides grants to several dozen communities to address youth homelessness. In addition, the agencies integrated data collection for the Runaway and Homeless Youth program into local data systems operated under the Continuum of Care program to help program providers better coordinate client services at the local level. GAO's review of documents and interviews with local program providers, agency officials, researchers, and advocates identified several challenges in serving youth experiencing homelessness, including both young adults and minors (those under 18). For example: Under the Continuum of Care program, communities must establish a process, known as coordinated entry, for prioritizing who receives limited housing resources. Many providers of homelessness services reported that their community's process tends to prioritize young adults lower than older adults. This is partly because these processes, following HUD guidance, give higher priority to those who have been homeless longer and who have documented disabilities. HUD has provided some information to communities on serving youth through coordinated entry, but this information largely has not addressed how to ensure that young adults are not consistently prioritized below other groups for housing. Most providers GAO interviewed reported that minors experiencing homelessness unaccompanied (without a parent or caregiver) do not participate in the coordinated entry process, with several noting there are limited housing options that can serve minors. Some providers and other stakeholders discussed challenges coordinating between the homelessness and child welfare systems to serve this group. However, HUD and HHS have provided limited information about or examples of how providers could coordinate to better serve unaccompanied minors. Although HUD and HHS have taken some steps to coordinate the Continuum of Care and Runaway and Homeless Youth programs, providers of these programs reported challenges in coordination and communication, including a lack of understanding of one another's programs and a need for more strategic planning on services for youth. HUD and HHS have acknowledged a need for additional information related to serving youth. Additional support from HUD and HHS in the areas identified above could help to improve coordination and the delivery of services to both young adults and minors at the local level. Why GAO Did This Study Youth homelessness is a widespread problem, with one recent study estimating that one in 10 young adults experience some form of homelessness over the course of a year—such as living on the streets or in a shelter or temporarily staying with others. GAO was asked to study youth homelessness. This report examines, among other things, HUD's and HHS's coordination to address youth homelessness and challenges communities face in serving youth through HUD and HHS programs. GAO analyzed federal agency documents related to homelessness efforts; conducted structured interviews with a nongeneralizable sample of 24 local homelessness providers, selected to reflect communities of different sizes and with different types of programs for youth; and interviewed other local program staff, youth homelessness researchers and advocates, and federal officials.[Read More…]
- Tax Administration: Better Coordination Could Improve IRS’s Use of Third-Party Information Reporting to Help Reduce the Tax GapBy Sam NewsJanuary 14, 2021Information returns are forms filed by third parties, such as employers and financial institutions that provide information about taxable transactions. These forms are submitted to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the Social Security Administration, and taxpayers. Fifty unique types of information returns provide information on individual taxpayers and have a variety of purposes, such as reporting on wages earned or amounts paid that qualify for a tax credit or deduction. IRS identifies mismatches between information returns and tax returns for potential additional review, including enforcement actions. According to IRS research, taxpayers are more likely to misreport income when little or no third-party information reporting exists than when substantial reporting exists. Overview of Internal Revenue Service's (IRS) Process for Matching Information Returns IRS's ability to process and use information returns is limited by its outdated legacy information technology (IT) systems. In 2017, IRS developed a plan to modernize its information return processing systems; however, IRS paused its efforts due to, according to IRS, resource constraints. IRS has an opportunity to capitalize on prior planning efforts by re-evaluating and updating these efforts and integrating them into its broader IT modernization efforts. IRS does not have a coordinated approach with cross-agency leadership that strategically considers how information reporting could be improved to promote compliance with the tax code. While information returns affect many groups across IRS and support multiple compliance programs, no one office has broad responsibility for coordinating these efforts. A formalized collaborative mechanism, such as a steering committee, could help provide leadership and ensure that IRS acts to address issues among the intake, processing, and compliance groups. For example, IRS has not undertaken a broad review of individual information returns to determine if thresholds, deadlines, or other characteristics of the returns continue to meet the needs of the agency. For tax year 2018, IRS received and processed more than 3.5 billion information returns that it used to facilitate compliance checks on more than 150 million individual income tax returns. By matching information reported by taxpayers against information reported by third parties, IRS identifies potential fraud and noncompliance. GAO was asked to review IRS's use of information returns. This report provides an overview of information returns and assesses the extent to which IRS has a coordinated approach to identifying and responding to risks related to the use of information returns in the tax system, among other objectives. GAO reviewed IRS documents and data on information returns filing, processing, and use, and interviewed cognizant officials. GAO compared IRS's efforts in this area to federal internal control standards, and IRS's strategic plan. GAO is making nine recommendations to IRS, including that IRS revise its modernization plans for its information returns processing systems and incorporate it into broader IT modernization efforts and develop a collaborative mechanism to improve coordination among IRS groups that use information returns. IRS neither agreed, nor disagreed with the recommendations; however, IRS outlined actions it plans to take to address the recommendations. Social Security Administration had no comments. For more information, contact James R. McTigue at (202) 512-9110 or McTigueJj@gao.gov.[Read More…]
- Reaffirming the Unbreakable U.S.-Japan AllianceBy Sam NewsMarch 14, 2021
- Public Health Preparedness: HHS Has Taken Some Steps to Implement New Authority to Speed Medical Countermeasure InnovationBy Sam NewsJuly 30, 2020The Department of Health and Human Services' (HHS) Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority has taken steps towards implementing an authority provided by the 21st Century Cures Act to accelerate the development of medical countermeasures. Medical countermeasures are drugs, vaccines, and devices to diagnose, treat, prevent, or mitigate potential health effects of exposure to chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear threats. However, as of June 2020, HHS had not selected a medical countermeasures innovation partner—an independent, nonprofit entity that the 21st Century Cures Act authorizes HHS to partner with to use venture capital practices and methods to invest in companies developing medical countermeasures. Towards implementing the authority, HHS has developed a vision for the innovation partner, staffed a division to manage HHS's medical innovation partnership and determined an initial amount of funding needed, solicited and considered feedback from venture capital and other stakeholders, and developed preliminary plans for structuring and overseeing the partnership. HHS officials explained this type of partnership approach was new to the agency and required due diligence to develop. According to agency officials, the innovation partner will allow HHS to invest in potentially transformative medical countermeasures that have the potential to benefit the government. For example, the innovation partner could invest in innovative wearable technologies to help early detection of viral infections. HHS officials told GAO that the partner, which is required by law to be a nonprofit entity, will be required to reinvest BARDA's revenues generated from government investments into further investments made through the partnership. BARDA's ultimate goal will be to use these revenues to fund new investments. According to a review of stakeholder comments submitted to HHS, potential venture capital partners identified concerns regarding aspects of the agency's plans for the innovation partner, which the stakeholders indicated could hinder HHS's implementation of the authority. For example, there is a statutory limit to the annual salary that can be paid to an individual from HHS's annual appropriation, which some stakeholders indicated was too low to attract an entity to manage the innovation partner funds. HHS officials told GAO they are assessing options to mitigate some of these concerns, but that plans will not be final until they select the partner. GAO provided a draft of this correspondence to HHS and the Department of Defense for review and comment. HHS did not provide comments on this report and DOD provided technical comments that we incorporated as appropriate. The COVID-19 pandemic and other public health emergencies caused by chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear agents or emerging infectious diseases raise concern about the nation's vulnerability to, and capacity to prevent or mitigate, potential health effects from exposure to such threats. The 21st Century Cures Act authorized HHS to partner with a private, nonprofit entity that can use venture capital practices and methods to invest in companies developing promising, innovative, medical countermeasures. The 21st Century Cures Act included a provision for GAO to review activities conducted under the innovation partner authority. This report describes the status of HHS's implementation of the authority. GAO reviewed relevant statutes and HHS documentation regarding its plans and actions taken to implement the authority, reviewed responses HHS received to the two requests for information it used to collect information from venture capital and other stakeholders, interviewed HHS officials, and interviewed officials from the Department of Defense, which has partnered with a private, nonprofit entity to make investments using venture capital practices. For more information, contact Mary Denigan-Macauley at (202) 512-7114 or DeniganMacauleyM@gao.gov.[Read More…]
- Secretary Michael R. Pompeo Remarks to the PressBy Sam NewsMarch 17, 2020Michael R. Pompeo, [Read More…]
- Secretary Blinken’s Call with PRC Director YangBy Sam NewsFebruary 6, 2021
- Amec Foster Wheeler Energy Limited Agrees to Pay Over $18 Million to Resolve Charges Related to Bribery Scheme in BrazilBy Sam NewsJune 25, 2021Amec Foster Wheeler Energy Limited (Amec Foster Wheeler or the Company), a subsidiary of John Wood Group plc (Wood), a United Kingdom-based global engineering company, has agreed to pay $18,375,000 to resolve criminal charges stemming from a scheme to pay bribes to officials in Brazil in exchange for an approximately $190 million contract to design a gas-to-chemicals complex.[Read More…]
- Foreign-Language Training Companies Admit to Participating in Conspiracy to Defraud the United StatesBy Sam NewsJanuary 19, 2021Two providers of foreign-language services, Comprehensive Language Center Inc. (CLCI), based in the Washington, D.C., area, and Berlitz Languages Inc. (Berlitz), based in New Jersey, were charged with participating in a conspiracy to defraud the United States by impeding, impairing, obstructing, and defeating competitive bidding for a multi-million dollar foreign-language training contract issued by the National Security Agency (NSA) in 2017, the Department of Justice announced today.[Read More…]
- Cote d’Ivoire Travel AdvisoryBy Sam NewsIn TravelSeptember 26, 2020Reconsider travel to [Read More…]
- Dar al-Farooq Mosque Bomber Sentenced to 53 Years in PrisonBy Sam NewsSeptember 13, 2021Emily Claire Hari, 50, f/k/a Michael Hari, was sentenced to life in prison for the Aug. 5, 2017, bombing of the Dar al-Farooq (DAF) Islamic Center in Bloomington, Minnesota.[Read More…]
- Secretary Blinken’s Call with NATO Secretary General StoltenbergBy Sam NewsOctober 4, 2021
- Michigan Restaurant and Strip Club Owner Sentenced to Two Years n Prison for Tax CrimesBy Sam NewsJanuary 5, 2021A Walled Lake, Michigan, business owner was sentenced today to two years in prison, announced Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Richard E. Zuckerman of the Justice Department’s Tax Division.[Read More…]