The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee is once again focusing its attention on waste in the federal government. In a hearing earlier this week, the Committee welcomed Gene Dodaro, Comptroller General of the United States. He discussed the findings of the annual report on duplication and overlap in the federal government issued by his agency, the Government Accountability Office (GAO).
As taxpayers know all too well, the government is rife with waste. Since it began releasing its report in 2011, the GAO has identified approximately 440 specific steps that Congress and the executive branch could take to address overlap and duplication. The good news is that 348 of these actions have been addressed fully or in part, with a total projected savings of $100 billion through 2023. The bad news is that a tremendous amount of work remains to be done. In addition to the unaddressed actions from previous reports, the 2015 iteration found 66 new actions that should be taken.
Needless to say, as long as we have a massive federal government, a great deal of waste will exist. The Oversight and Government Reform Committee should be commended for repeatedly shining a spotlight on this problem. It held a hearing on the subject last year, at which I was fortunate enough to serve as a witness.
As I noted in my testimony:
Waste is a permanent problem facing government. Former Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) often contended that it is extremely difficult to reduce waste because the fat doesn’t sit on top of the meat where it could easily be cut away, but rather is marbled. He’s correct in part: there is a great deal of fat that is marbled and thus, quite hard to reduce or eliminate. But there is also a tremendous amount of “low-hanging fruit” – wasteful and unnecessary spending that can and should be targeted by all Members of Congress, regardless of their ideological leanings.
That’s why NTU has partnered with the left-leaning U.S. Public Interest Research Group to release a periodic report outlining specific cuts Congress should make to address government waste and duplication in a bipartisan fashion. Let’s hope they adopt some of these recommendations and work harder to whittle down the amount of taxpayer dollars that are misspent.