Today, U.S. Senators Tom Coburn, M.D. (R-OK) and Mark Warner (D-VA) introduced a bill that would require the Office or Management and Budget (OMB) and executive branch departments and agencies to reduce at least $5 billion in federal spending by eliminating, consolidating, or streamlining government programs and agencies with duplicative and overlapping missions. The proposal reinforces the need for Congress to take immediate action to pass legislation that saves taxpayer dollars by cutting billions of dollars exposed in a recent U.S. Government Accountability Office report as wasteful and duplicative spending.
"If the Senate would simply spend the time debating spending cuts and take immediate action to save taxpayers $5 billion, we could make great strides toward reducing our debt and possibly avoid budget standoffs," Dr. Coburn said, noting that the Senate has taken 50 percent fewer votes in 2011 than at this time last year.
"Many Senators on both sides of the aisle understand the seriousness of our debt threat and are willing to go through the budget program by program to identify cuts. The best way to cut spending is to make hard choices and set priorities," Dr. Coburn said.
"While $5 billion admittedly is "small ball' when compared to this year's $1.6 trillion deficit and our $14 trillion debt, this represents a solid beginning. It shows we will explore every opportunity to cut costs and save taxpayer money," Senator Warner said. "The March 1st GAO report identified 34 policy areas with overlapping or duplicative activities, and this legislation takes meaningful initial steps to save at least $5 billion in wasteful federal spending."
On April 6, 2011, the Senate accepted, by a vote of 64 to 36, identical language offered as amendment (#273) by Dr. Coburn and Sen. Warner that would require the Office of Management and Budget to rescind at least $5 billion in duplicative spending identified in a recent GAO report on duplication. The underlying legislation, however, has been pulled from consideration, prompting Dr. Coburn and Sen. Warner to reintroduce their proposal as stand-alone legislation.
OMB would be required to identify and report to Congress any legislative changes required to further eliminate, consolidate, or streamline government programs and agencies with duplicative and overlapping missions. In his 2011 State of the Union Address, President Obama pledged to eliminate and consolidate duplicative programs. The GAO report finding the federal government could save hundreds of billions of dollars by eliminating duplication and overlap provides Congress with a blueprint.