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Public Statements

Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2014

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. SANFORD. Madam Chair, I rise today in support of this amendment to eliminate five regional commissions that waste taxpayer dollars. These programs were initially formed with the mandate to improve the lives of those who live in impoverished areas. However, they have instead veered from this mandate by routinely allocating funds to projects that not only fall under state and local responsibilities, but also projects that benefit only those who live in more economically developed areas.

For example, the Northern Border Regional Commission has granted: $250,000 to construct a tower to improve cell phone coverage in New Hampshire, $250,000 to construct a 93-mile, four-season, multi-use trail across northern Vermont and $160,000 to promote and raise awareness of the maple syrup industry in New York.

These examples of government waste are not just confined to the Northern Border Regional Commission. A similar organization called the Delta Regional Commission, which spans from Mississippi to Southern Illinois, granted: $150,000 to build a tornado safe room in a Missouri hospital and $47,000 for updating a sprinkler system at a business incubator in Illinois. While there may be a need for these projects, they do not fall under the original mandate of these commissions. I believe that for government programs to be effective, they must be focused.

The problem is that these projects do not help those that the regional commissions were originally created for--Americans living below the poverty line. The Obama administration, along with the Government Accountability Office, has identified these programs as wasteful and duplicative while possessing no track record of success.

Madam Chair, eliminating these programs will save American taxpayers $90 million and work towards reducing the national debt by targeting wasteful spending.

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