Our nation’s fiscal situation has reached a tipping point. Our debt now tops $14 trillion, which equates to more than $42,000 for every American man, woman and child.
One way we can start tackling our debt is by targeting the fat on Washington’s bloated bureaucracy. The federal government is deluged with wasteful nonperforming and underperforming programs.
To address this ever-increasing problem, I introduced legislation this week with Colorado Sen. Mark Udall that would establish a bipartisan Senate committee to identify and target wasteful and underperforming federal government programs for elimination.
Our legislation creates The Committee to Reduce Government Waste, which would be dedicated to saving taxpayers billions of dollars by cutting ineffective and redundant federal programs instead of raising taxes.
This Committee would consist of 12 members – four from each of the Senate Finance, Appropriations, and Budget committees, with the Senate Majority and Minority leaders each picking six members. The member’s service would be limited to six years.
A similar committee to the one I am proposing was formed in response to the rising costs of World War II. This committee saved more than $38 billion in present dollars over three years just by reducing wasteful spending.
I believe now is as critical a time as ever to start a similar committee to bring more fiscal accountability to Washington and much-needed relief to taxpayers.
And there is a lot of waste to cut. According to findings detailed in a General Accounting Office (GAO) report released earlier this week — billions of dollars can be slashed from the federal budget by eliminating duplicative government programs. For instance, the GAO found the federal government has 80 economic-development programs, 44 employment and training programs, and five agencies within the Department of Transportation that operate 100 surface-transportation programs.
Many national industry and advocacy groups, representing millions of American taxpayers, have come together to urge the rest of Congress to support this committee. In addition, the president of Americans for Tax Reform Grover Norquist called this proposal a huge step forward.
As outlined in our legislation, the Committee to Reduce Government Waste would submit a report to the Senate at least once a year that identifies underperforming and wasteful government programs in need of cuts or elimination. The committee’s recommendations would receive expedited consideration in the Senate.
This committee is a common-sense way of saving taxpayers billions, and helps us take another step forward in addressing the debt that is swamping our country. Now is the time to take meaningful actions that will eliminate these wasteful programs and put our nation on sounder financial footing.