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Government Efficiency, Effectiveness, and Performance Improvement Act of 2010

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Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. CHAFFETZ. Madam Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

We're currently dealing with a stalled economy, high unemployment, record budget deficits, and a debt that seems insurmountable. The challenge this Congress faces cannot be more clear. We must cut wasteful spending. We have to do it. We have no other choice. The Federal Government's spending to reduce our Nation's debt is paramount to our successful future. If we want to be the world's economic and military super power, we're going to have to change the way we do business in Washington, D.C.

Now performance-based budgeting can be an effective tool to do just that. It can make clear what Federal programs are not performing and then spell out what Federal programs are duplicative in nature. But performance-based budgeting dictates that we identify the problem and enact a solution. It's not enough to just recognize there's a problem. Most all of us can step forward and say we're spending too much money. But the core question becomes, What are the changes that we're going to make?

One of the challenges that we see within the bill is that it's not necessarily performance-based budgeting because the question becomes, ultimately, What are you going to do about it? It sets out to diagnosis a problem that we already know exists but does not necessarily follow through and prescribe a cure. We know that there are duplicative and nonperforming Federal programs. We know this. We need to finish the job and actually cut those programs. To be complete, the bill must do just that. In its current form, this bill does not necessarily help us rein in these programs.

For example, just last week, our Information Policy Subcommittee held a hearing on the National Historical Publications and Records Commission, a program which appears to give grants that are duplicative of grants in the National Archives and Records Administration. I questioned then, and I ask it again today, Why should we continue to fund this duplicative program? It costs the committee nothing to find this duplication, so why, if we cannot trim $10 million of Federal spending without a penny, then why should we authorize $150 million to be spent? What exactly do we expect for it to bring in return?

The Congressional Budget Office estimates that this bill will cause the Federal Government to spend $150 million to determine what many people already know. We have Federal Government programs which are nonperforming and duplicative, but the bill before us leaves wasteful programs intact.

As we came to the floor, one of the amendments that was offered, and I really, truly do appreciate, the sponsor of the bill, Mr. Cuellar added some language that says, ``Agencies shall fund the reporting requirements of this act out of existing budgets and are authorized to make necessary reprogramming of funds.''

I sincerely appreciate it in every way, shape, or form. This goes a huge way to making this palatable to a lot of conservatives that are concerned about spending an additional $150 million. I still question why it takes so much money for people to just do the jobs that they're supposed to do. But please know the sincerity in which the sponsor is offering this is greatly appreciated in every way, shape, or form. It's done in the right spirit. I think it goes a huge way to causing a lot of people to support this, particularly from the Republican side of the aisle. I cannot thank you enough for the attitude and the approaching and the actual listening to that. For that, we're very thankful.

I do wish that this bill would come under a rule--an open rule. It's hard to believe, but as a freshman in this United States Congress, I will likely go through my entire freshman Congress, the 111th Congress, having never experienced even once an open rule on the floor of the House of Representatives. That's a shame. That's a shame. There should be a way for a mechanism where this bill is brought under a rule, an open rule, where Members on both sides of the aisle can offer amendments and we can vote on those amendments. Unfortunately, that's not going to happen.

We should not necessarily pass a bill that does not have tough enforcement mechanisms. We can and must do better than this. This body must make tough choices to eliminate wasteful government spending. It should not pass legislation with great titles--A-plus on the titles you're giving these bills. They're good. Who's going to vote against efficiency, effectiveness, and performance. But it doesn't necessarily reflect what's in the body of the bill.

My colleague Aaron Schock from Illinois offered a great amendment in the committee that was shot down which would put a sunsetting provision in programs that are not performing. In the previous administration, there was a Web site called expectmore.gov. It did an assessment of programs. It was pushed by the Office of Management and Budget. It had dashboard indicators as to how these programs that were instituted by Congress, how they were performing based on their own set of criteria that was set in advance. It allowed the American people to actually have exposure.

Unfortunately, expectmore.gov under the current administration is no longer maintained. The information is not up to date; and, consequently, the American people do not have access to the information that they do deserve. I would encourage the administration and supporters from both sides of the aisle to reinstitute this Web site.

I want to conclude by quoting Office of Management and Budget director Peter Orszag. On May 24 this year, Mr. Orszag said, ``We should never tolerate taxpayer dollars going to programs that are duplicative or ineffective. Because, especially in this current fiscal environment, we cannot afford this waste.'' He is right. He is absolutely right. We cannot afford to let these programs go on, and Congress needs to step to the plate and do something about it. So I do appreciate the amendment that was offered that will go a long way to getting a lot of different support. I do just wish this bill would come under a rule.

I reserve the balance of my time, Madam Speaker.

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Mr. CHAFFETZ. Madam Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

I simply just want to note for the record that, quoting from the CBO report of June 7, 2010, regarding H.R. 2142: ``Finally implementing H.R. 2142 could lead to more effective management of government agencies at a lower cost. Any such savings would depend on amounts provided in future appropriations acts.'' I just wanted to note that for the record.

The intention of this is good. I think in a bipartisan way, we want the government to become more efficient. How we do that--well, there are some disagreements, but the intention of this bill I think is a positive one.

With that, I yield back the balance of my time.

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