Building on his record of using aggressive measures to reduce out-of-control government spending, U.S. Sen. Mark Begich has introduced legislation that would save the federal government billions of dollars each year by requiring agencies to set bulk-purchasing goals.
The Buy Smarter and Save Act of 2013 trims government waste by implementing a program to promote bulk buying or "strategic sourcing" within the federal government. Strategic sourcing enables agencies to leverage their buying power in order to gain cost-savings on common goods and services. Based on data from other large organizations that have committed to strategic sourcing and estimates from experts, this proposal could save the federal government nearly $10 billion per year.
"Families and businesses buy in bulk to save money and so should the federal government--it's not a hard concept," said Sen. Begich. "The only difference is that when the federal government buys in bulk, it saves taxpayers billions of dollars."
The federal government spends more than $500 billion every year on various products and services. Much of that buying is uncoordinated and managed independently by dozens of different departments, agencies and divisions. It is not uncommon for these entities to make their own independent buying decisions rather than consolidating their buying power to drive a hard bargain for the American taxpayer.
Several goods and services have been identified as potential sources for cost-saving measures through bulk purchasing such as fuels, food, medical supplies, vehicles and maintenance services. In addition to the purchasing power of buying in bulk, the bill would prevent agencies from unnecessarily buying high-end products and would ensure that agencies are making purchase based upon demand rather than stockpiling unreasonable quantities.
Since arriving in the Senate, Sen. Begich has been focused on significantly reducing government spending. In addition to supporting several bills to require Congress to pass a balanced budget each year, Begich repeatedly voted and cosponsored measures to block automatic pay raises for Congress. Begich is one of only a few senators to have furloughed staff and forfeited a portion of his own salary this past year in order to demonstrate that no one -- including members of Congress -- should be immune from automatic budget cuts.
Begich has worked with senators of both political parties to develop creative and cost-cutting strategies. He has backed selling excess property owned by the federal government, barring federal money from being used for party conventions, and banning wasteful payments by the Department of Housing and Urban Development to properties deemed unsuitable for living. Begich also voted against the Senate Democrats' proposed budget this year because it did not go far enough to cut wasteful spending.