03.17.15

Peters, Gardner Introduce Legislative Package of Bipartisan Cost-Saving Measures

 

Legislation Would Save Taxpayer Dollars by Reducing Wasteful Spending, Promoting Conservation and Tackling Deficit

 

WASHINGTON, DC –U.S. Senators Gary Peters (D-MI) and Cory Gardner (R-CO) today introduced two bills that will help reduce wasteful government spending and cut the deficit. The Congressional Oversight to Start Taxpayer Savings Resolution (COST Savings Resolution) and the Expedited Consideration of Cuts, Consolidations and Savings Act of 2015 will save taxpayer dollars and make government more effective and efficient by helping eliminate duplicative or overlapping programs and by requiring Congress to debate and vote on spending cuts proposed in the President’s annual budget.

“Congress has a duty to be good stewards of taxpayer dollars and ensure they are being used efficiently,” said Senator Peters. “I’m proud to introduce these bipartisan, commonsense bills to help streamline government and ensure that it is running efficiently and effectively for Michigan’s hard-working families. Finding ways to cut costs and save taxpayers money is an area where members of both parties can find common ground, and I look forward to working with my Senate colleagues to reduce wasteful spending.”

“These bills will help reduce wasteful government spending,” Senator Gardner said. “The government is already spending time and money producing reports on wasteful spending, but these reports are too often ignored in Congress. Reports that just collect dust instead of action do no good when it comes to solving our nation's greatest challenges. By forcing Congress to take action, these bills would save taxpayer money and keep us from needlessly adding to our already-massive national debt.”

The COST Savings Resolution would require Congressional committees to hold oversight hearings on the Government Accountability Office’s (GAO) Annual Report of Opportunities to Reduce Fragmentation, Overlap and Duplication and the GAO High Risk List. The bill directs Congressional committees to take into account recommendations on how to improve the effectiveness of government programs and eliminate unnecessary costs caused by duplicative federal programs, as well as vulnerabilities for waste, fraud, and abuse and the need for transformation of government programs.

The 2014 GAO annual report identified 26 areas across the federal government where Congress could eliminate duplicative programs and improve efficiency and effectiveness, as well as 15 areas where Congress could reduce the cost of government operations. For example, a previous GAO report found that there were multiple agencies in charge of inspecting catfish for human consumption. Streamlining catfish inspection under one agency could save millions of taxpayer dollars without compromising public safety. The 2015 GAO High Risk List identified 32 areas that are at high risk due to vulnerabilities for fraud, waste, abuse and mismanagement, or are most in need of transformation. The COST Savings Resolution would ensure that Congress acts on these reports produced by GAO.

At a February 11th hearing of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, Senator Peters asked GAO Comptroller General Gene Dodaro whether Congress has been effective in responding to the GAO’s recommendations. Comptroller General Dodaro stated that “there is much more Congress could and should do.” He also recommended holding joint committee hearings when there are issues that span multiple committees’ jurisdictions and encouraged Congress to create a formal review process for GAO recommendations, both of which are included in Senator Peters’ legislation.

The Expedited Consideration of Cuts, Consolidations and Savings Act of 2015 would require Congress to consider, debate and vote on deficit reduction recommendations from the Cuts, Consolidations and Savings report, which is part of the President’s annual budget that includes recommendations from the Administration to reduce the deficit.

“Every year, Congress receives a list of recommendations in the President’s budget to reduce wasteful spending and save taxpayer dollars, yet Congress has failed to debate or implement the majority of these important cost-saving measures,” said Senator Peters. “As Congress begins debate on a budget for the next fiscal year, we need to consider all the options to reduce our deficit. This legislation will help hold Washington responsible for unnecessary spending and provide clear opportunities to cut waste and make government work better for taxpayers.”

The Cuts, Consolidations and Savings report for fiscal year 2016 identifies more than $14 billion in possible cuts and reductions in federal spending. The Expedited Consideration of Cuts, Consolidations and Savings Act of 2015 would allow the White House to send Congress a list of proposed cuts or savings which Congress must then vote to accept or reject. If cuts and consolidations on this year’s list passed, they would save a projected $110 billion by 2025.

###