U.S. Senator Tom Coburn, M.D. (R-OK) released the following statement today regarding the Government Accountability Office's (GAO) fourth annual report detailing unnecessary duplication in the federal government. This year's report identified 26 areas of duplication that could save taxpayers $45 billion over five years. See summary and report card for more information.
"Over the past four years, GAO's duplication reports have identified a mother lode of potential savings -- at least $200 billion annually. Sadly, Congress has done very little digging. We've achieved a small fraction of the savings GAO has revealed," Dr. Coburn said.
"Turning this ready-made list of cuts into savings is one of the best ways Congress can regain the trust and confidence of the American people. No American -- regardless of party or ideology -- wants to see their tax dollars fund unnecessary duplication and bloat, particularly when real incomes have flat-lined and our economy is being dragged down by a $17 trillion debt.
"A handful of members have taken up this cause including Representatives Paul Ryan, Jim Bridenstine, James Lankford, Virginia Foxx and Senator Tim Scott, but they need more support. Congress could also pass two bipartisan bills based on GAO's recommendations. The Taxpayers Right to Know Act would require federal agencies to provide taxpayers with an annual report card for each of its programs and disclose overlap and performance measures. The Let Me Google That For You Act would eliminate the National Technical Information Service (NTIS) that sells free government reports that are available online to other federal agencies and the public at a loss.
"At the end of the day, there are no short-cuts around the hard work of oversight and identifying and eliminating waste. Congress, particularly the appropriations committees, has no excuse to not achieve these savings when GAO has already done much of Congress' work for it," Dr. Coburn said.
GAO began issuing these reports after Dr. Coburn attached an amendment to the debt limit increase in 2010. The amendment was approved by a vote of 94 to 0.
GAO's previous three reports identified 162 areas of government duplication and cost savings. To address these areas of concern, GAO recommended 380 specific actions to be taken by Congress and the administration to help reduce duplication, fragmentation, and overlap.