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Public Statements

Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Appropriation Act, 2014

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. CHABOT. Madam Chair, I have an amendment at the desk.

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Mr. CHABOT. I want to thank the gentleman from South Carolina (Mr. Sanford) for his leadership in cosponsoring this particular amendment with me.

We introduced this amendment because, with a nearly $17 trillion debt, the Federal Government can no longer continue to subsidize wasteful programs and policies. The programs that this amendment would eliminate--some of them in my own State--do little to achieve their intended purpose of economic development. These are wasteful programs that the GAO, the Government Accountability Office, and even the Obama administration have found to be duplicative and possessing no track record of success.

In his 2012 budget, President Obama eliminated Federal funding for the Denali Commission, for example. His argument, which I agree with, was that the Denali projects are not funded through a free market or a merit-based system. Additionally, the White House noted that there are 29 other Federal programs capable of fulfilling this commission's mandate. I would submit that this is also the case for a number of other commissions--for example, the Appalachian Regional Commission, the Delta Regional Authority, the Northern Border Regional Commission, and the Southeast Crescent Regional Commission--for which we reduced and eliminated the funding.

Of particular note and concern is a recent report from the Denali Commission inspector general, which states that $100 million is missing from the Denali Commission bank accounts. In his 2012 semiannual report to Congress, the inspector general recounted his attempts to track down the lost funds--unsuccessfully, I might add--and recommended that Congress not reauthorize the commission in light of this mismanagement.

Like Citizens Against Government Waste, I seek to end the Federal appropriations for this commission as well as for the others that I mentioned. By reducing the appropriations to these programs, my amendment would save $90 million for American taxpayers.

GAO analysis found numerous Federal programs that overlap and provide similar services. In these reports, GAO found no fewer than 80 Federal economic development programs administered by four different agencies. Year after year we hear about the inefficiency and waste that is occurring within these programs. This inefficiency, duplication and overlap have cost the taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars over the years.

These commissions were established for one purpose: economic development. Yet the CBO and other organizations have found no factual evidence that these commissions have created jobs or have improved education or health care. The inability to determine the success of these commissions is, in part, due to their overlap with other programs and agencies.

In summary, there is a tremendous amount of duplication and overlap in each one of the programs that I mentioned, so they are better dealt with at the State and local levels. The officials there are much closer to these types of programs than is the Federal Government. The programs have no track record of success in doing what they were intended to do, which is to create economic development and job growth. It just hasn't happened. The GAO report, as I indicated, has stated that the programs are duplicative and that there is a tremendous amount of mismanagement.

Taxpayers are fed up with wasteful spending in Washington. It's time we identified wasteful programs. These are truly almost the definition of ``wasteful programs,'' and we need to cut them. I would urge my colleagues to support this commonsense amendment.

I yield back the balance of my time.

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Mr. CHABOT. Madam Chair, I demand a recorded vote.

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