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Public Statements

Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. McCAIN. Madam President, today I come to the floor to speak in support of Coburn amendment, No. 1738, which I cosponsor. This common sense amendment would require the Office of Management and Budget--OMB--and the executive branch agencies to reduce at least $10 billion by eliminating, consolidating, or streamlining government programs and agencies with duplicative and overlapping missions.

Thankfully, the Government Accountability Office--GAO--has given Congress and the administration a blueprint to reduce duplication and eliminate failing programs by releasing two detailed reports that highlight 132 areas within the Federal Government that are duplicative and if consolidated could save billions. With our Nation facing a $15.4 trillion debt, eliminating inefficiency and waste in the Federal Government to save taxpayer dollars is absolutely imperative and the American people expect us to do so.

In the most recent report issued by GAO on February 28, 2012, they identified 32 areas of duplication, overlap and fragmentation throughout the Federal Government, as well as 19 additional areas of cost-saving and revenue-enhancement opportunities in Federal programs, agencies, offices and initiatives. Of the 32 areas highlighted in the report, GAO identifies 10 dealing specifically with the Department of Defense, which include Electronic Warfare programs, Unmanned Aircraft Systems, Counter-Improvised Explosive Device Efforts, Defense Language and Culture Training, Stabilization, Reconstruction, and Humanitarian Assistance Efforts, Health Research Funding, Military and Veterans Health Care, Information Technology Investment Management, Space Launch Contract Costs, and Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Education--STEM.

In addition to the 10 defense areas mentioned above, GAO also highlights 6 areas where the Defense Department could reduce its operating costs or increase revenue collections for the Treasury.

With new, emerging threats to national security arising every day, the funding needed to support major defense priorities is declining. For this reason, in my view, the Department must implement each of GAO's recommendations in this report. Also, implementing these recommendations may reduce the need for "catastrophic'' defense cuts required under ``sequestration''--precipitated by Congress' failure to enact $1.2 trillion in deficit reduction under the Budget Control Act of 2011.

I intend to send a letter to Secretary of Defense Panetta asking him to tell me how the Department plans to address these vitally important recommendations. I will continue to monitor the Department's implementation efforts and will take necessary steps, including legislative action where appropriate, to ensure their implementation.

The Federal Government wastes billions a year on programs with duplicative and overlapping missions. Congress and the administration must ensure that the findings in the two GAO reports do not go to waste. Congress should insist that they are implemented to reduce spending and eliminate duplicative and failing programs. I urge my colleagues to support the Coburn's amendment No. 1738.

I yield the floor.


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