U.S. Senators Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), along with Representatives Charlie Dent (R-PA), Patrick Murphy (D-FL) and Mike Coffman (R-CO) today introduced bipartisan, bicameral legislation to save billions of taxpayer dollars by making it easier for Congress to eliminate duplication and overlap across the federal government.
The "Duplication Elimination Act" would require the President to submit a proposed joint resolution to Congress each year on how to carry out recommendations outlined in the Government Accountability Office (GAO) Annual Report on Fragmentation, Overlap and Duplication.
Within 90 days of the GAO report's release, the President must provide Congress with the draft proposal and a report that explains which GAO recommendations are excluded and why they are not included. Both chambers of Congress must vote on the proposal within ten days and any savings achieved through the "Duplication Elimination Act" must be used for deficit reduction.
"As our national debt approaches $17 trillion, we need to make smart reforms that cut the fat from agency programs," Senator Manchin said. "It's only common sense to get rid of government waste and hold our government accountable for unnecessary, unacceptable redundancies. I am truly grateful to work with my colleagues from both parties in both the House and the Senate to come up with such a reasonable way to help reduce our deficit and focus on fiscal responsibility."
"With $17 trillion in debt, it's past time for Congress and the president to act on GAO's common sense recommendations to eliminate government waste," said Senator Ayotte. "Our legislation would require action to end duplicative and wasteful federal programs, saving billions of taxpayer dollars."
"My thanks to Senators Manchin and Ayotte and to my colleague, Representative Murphy, for seeing the need for action and taking it. I'm proud to introduce a companion to this bill in the House. The GAO has exhaustively studied ways to reduce duplicative government programs. The President and Congress owe it to taxpayers to act on these recommendations. If we fail to do so we would be like a doctor ordering x-rays before we treat a patient, but then ignoring what they show," said Representative Charlie Dent.
"We all agree that we need to spend smarter and govern better, and this bill would do just that by holding the President accountable for eliminating duplication and wasteful spending identified by the non-partisan and highly respected Government Accountability Office. By working together, we can find commonsense solutions like this to save billions of taxpayer dollars," said Representative Patrick Murphy.
The Government Accountability Office is required to provide Congress with an annual report identifying federal programs, agencies, offices and initiatives that have duplicative purposes or activities.
In the 2013 Annual Report, GAO identified 31 areas where agencies could achieve greater efficiency and 81 concrete actions that could be taken to reduce fragmentation, overlap and duplication and save billions of taxpayer dollars. However, federal agencies have fully implemented only 12 percent of the 300 recommended actions outlined by GAO since 2011.
The "Duplication Elimination Act" would require the President to submit to Congress a proposed joint resolution on how to implement recommendations outlined in the GAO Annual Report on Fragmentation, Overlap and Duplication within 90 days of the GAO report's release.
The President must also provide a statement that a) outlines which GAO recommendations are excluded from the joint resolution and b) explains why the Administration has chosen to omit these recommendations.
The bill includes procedures for expedited consideration of the joint resolution in Congress, requiring up-or-down votes without amendment in both the House and Senate in the next 10 days.
Any savings achieved through the "Duplication Elimination Act" must be used for deficit reduction.