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Support Legislation to Apply Unobligated Funds to Deficit Reduction

by Brandon Greife / /

Dear Member of Congress:

     On behalf of the 362,000 members ofthe National Taxpayers Union (NTU), I urge you to support legislative effortsthat would require the Director of the Office of Management and Budget torescind money from certain unobligated balances of discretionaryappropriations. The “Decrease Spending Now Act,” introduced as H.R. 1111 byRepresentative Price (R-GA) and as S. 726 by Senator Rubio (R-FL), iscommonsense legislation that allows us to apply unused taxpayer dollars to paydown our deficit.

     Nearly every federal departmentends each year with billions of dollars in unobligated funding. This is moneythat Congress has appropriated to agencies but has gone unspent, often foryears at a time. A recent report by the OMB found $703 billion in unobligatedfederal money gathering dust in department coffers waiting to be spent.Research conducted by Senator Tom Coburn’s office estimates that more than $82billion of these funds are between six and 20 years old.

     Needless to say, at a time ofrecord deficits, the very existence of a glorified “slush fund” amounting to $703billion is simply unacceptable. Despite the enormous unspent balances,year-after-year Congress has borrowed billions more dollars to increase fundinglevels for programs. It is a sad indictment of Washington’s budgeting habitsthat Congress has been appropriating money far faster than even our voraciousbureaucracy can spend it. At a time when many families are watching every pennyof their own finances, such gross mismanagement of taxpayer dollars must stop.

     Both parties are now locked inheated debate over the size and substance of reductions in governmentexpenditures. Even the modest cuts being proposed, which make a nearlyimperceptible dent in the budget deficit, are being unjustly impugned asharmful to core government functions. Even at this decisive moment in politics,Washington should be able to agree that using unspent federal funds for deficitreduction is far wiser than forcing taxpayers to pay for unneeded departmentalfunding increases or continuing to add to our $14 trillion debt. It istherefore encouraging that 81 Senators, including 34 Democrats, are already onrecord as having supported a similar proposal as part of S. 223, the FederalAviation Administration Reauthorization bill. Accordingly, we hope yourcolleagues maintain their backing of this commonsense legislation and makepassage of these proposals a priority. 

Sincerely,

Brandon Greife
Federal Government AffairsManager