Preventing Waste, Fraud, and Abuse
The federal government is too large and we spend too much of your hard-earned tax dollars. However, some real progress has been made. Congress has already considered several measures that are addressing waste, fraud, and abuse. And I will continue to fight to make the federal government more fiscally conservative and responsible.
In fact, today the House passed a line-item veto proposal that will make Congress more accountable for the spending it proposes, will help eliminate worthless projects, and will protect taxpayer dollars with spending restraint. The Legislative Line Item Veto Act of 2006 will allow the President 45 days to propose the veto of up to 5 earmarks in any appropriations bill. It then requires Congress to act on the president's proposed rescissions by requiring an up-or-down vote on the complete list in a timely manner. It would also allow for real savings, since the bill requires all savings to be used for deficit reduction efforts. Further, this bill will act as a strong deterrent to the addition of questionable projects in the first place, while allowing Members to defend legitimate projects if they are targeted by the President. I am proud that I voted for this legislation that should prove to be a vital tool in the fight against wasteful spending.
As a Member of the House Appropriations Committee, I am in a position to directly affect the way your tax dollars are spent. And I am committed to funding valuable projects that enhance the needs of communities, not wasteful pork programs. This year, we have passed 8 of the 11 Fiscal Year 2007 appropriations bills, and we have successfully held the line on spending and eliminated wasteful programs. In addition, we have defeated proposals that would have added $34.5 billion in new spending above and beyond the levels included in these bills.
I also supported this year's fiscally conservative Budget. The Fiscal Year 2007 budget holds the line on discretionary spending and maintains President Bush's spending cap of $873 billion. To help reduce the deficit, the bill would save $6.8 billion in mandatory spending by highlighting common sense reforms that make federal programs more effective and efficient on behalf of American taxpayers. This is the second year in a row that we have made progress in eliminating waste and inefficiencies in federal spending.
We also approved important reforms that bring more sunshine and more accountability to the earmark process in order to help Congress determine worthy projects from worthless pork through the Lobbying Accountability and Transparency Act.
Another way we are eliminating fraud and abuse is through a program based out of Tarleton State University. This program uses data analysis to locate cases of fraud and abuse in the Federal Crop Insurance Program. The Tarleton State program has already saved the American taxpayers $450 million since its inception in 2000. I am pleased to have secured funding in the Fiscal Year 2007 Agriculture Appropriations bill that will allow Tarleton State University to continue one of the most effective oversight programs in the federal government.
The Office of Management and Budget reports that over 25 percent of all federal programs either do not work or cannot show any evidence that they do, while another 28 percent of programs receive "adequate" ratings, indicating problems. Considering this troubling data, we are considering the future possibilities for this program in finding fraud and abuse in other government programs.
I will continue to introduce and support initiatives that rein in wasteful spending, exercise fiscal restraint, and ensure that Congress is spending taxpayer dollars wisely.