The Honorable Marsha BlackburnUnited States House of Representatives217 Cannon House Office BuildingWashington, DC 20515
Dear Representative Blackburn:
On behalf of the 362,000 members of the National Taxpayers Union (NTU), I write in support of H.R. 4295, your “Consolidate Heavy-handed and Outdated Programs Act of 2012” (CHOP Act). The CHOP Act eliminates wasteful spending and duplicative programs by merging the Department of Energy (DOE) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) into one agency, the Department of Energy and the Environment (DOEE). This Act will help spare the government, and thereby taxpayers, from funding unnecessary activities.
With our economy bogged down by soaring debt, it is essential that Congress explore every avenue available to save taxpayer funds and restrain out-of-control spending. Continuing to operate under “business as usual” is no longer a viable option, and fortunately the Government Accountability Office has recommended consolidation of redundant federal operations as one way to achieve significant savings. Combining the similar and often overlapping missions of the DOE and EPA helps to achieve just that, without jeopardizing their core functions.
The CHOP Act could reduce unnecessary spending by almost $5.3 billion in 2013 alone through consolidating 20 offices into 8, shutting down 4 offices, and ending or reducing 24 other initiatives. Such efforts should yield a much-needed coordinated approach toward policy implementation in what is currently a sprawling bureaucracy not known for its efficiency. Your bill also requires the President to submit a National Energy Plan to Congress by April 1, 2013 and the Secretary of the DOEE to report back to Congress each year on programs that could be eliminated, providing for future savings and additional accountability.
This legislation is an important first step towards curbing our national spending problem. However, we need to apply the same fiscal diligence to all areas of the federal government. For example, in 2011, NTU joined with the left-of-center U.S. Public Interest Research Group (U.S. PIRG) to outline $1 trillion in specific spending reductions the “Supercommittee” could pursue. Those recommendations are as valid today as they were last year. While the CHOP Act will save taxpayers billions of dollars, it is vital for Congress to expand upon this concept to restore the U.S. to a sound financial footing.
NTU is pleased to endorse the CHOP Act, and we urge all Representatives to join you by co-sponsoring it.
Sincerely,Nan SwiftFederal Affairs Manager