On Tuesday, the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a 426-page report that identified duplicative and wasteful government programs, agencies and offices. At a time when our federal government is already spending money it doesn't have, this report highlights billions of dollars spent on redundant federal programs. According to the GAO report, duplicative federal spending includes:
* Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Education. There are 209 federal STEM education programs, administered by 13 different federal agencies, costing taxpayers more than $3 billion annually.
* Financial Literacy. There are 56 financial literacy programs across 20 federal agencies, according to a March 2011 survey of federal agencies. However, a subsequent analysis by GAO found that there were 15 financial literacy programs across 13 federal agencies, costing taxpayers more than $30 million annually, if a narrower definition of financial literacy is used.
* Department of Justice Grants. Since 2005, Congress has spent $30 billion in overlapping Department of Justice grants for crime prevention police and victims services from more than 200 DOJ grant programs, and $3.9 billion in grants just in 2010.
* Housing Assistance. In 2010, the government spent roughly $170 billion on housing related programs, of which $132 billion was forgone revenue from tax expenditures related to housing. GAO found "twenty different entities that administer 160 programs, tax expenditures, and other tools, that support homeowners and renters." GAO also found "39 programs, tax expenditures, and other tools provide assistance for buying, selling or financing a home," and eight programs and tax expenditures provide assistance for rental property owners."
* Support to Private Sector on Green Buildings. There are 94 federal initiatives to encourage "green building" in the private sector, all run by 11 different federal agencies.
* Diesel Emissions. There are 14 programs and three tax expenditures that sole or joint purpose is to reduce diesel emissions. Thirteen of the programs provide grants and one is a loan program. GAO also identified three tax expenditures that provide incentives for owners and operators of diesel engines and vehicles.
In the 112th Congress, my Republican colleagues and I have led the fight in cutting spending and reducing government barriers to job creation in order provide relief for our nation's struggling families and small businesses. My colleagues in the Majority and I are committed to removing waste, fraud and abuse from federal programs. I urge President Obama to join our efforts to rein in government spending so that we can get our country back on track.