As part of her commitment to cutting waste and inefficiency in government, Congresswoman Annie Kuster (NH-02) today is partnering with Republican Rep. Kevin Cramer (ND-AL) to introduce the Closing Long-Empty Accounts Now (CLEAN) Act, common sense legislation that would force federal agencies to eliminate empty bank accounts that cost millions of dollars to maintain despite serving no purpose.
"Both parties can agree that there is no excuse for the government to squander millions of dollars maintaining empty federal bank accounts that serve no purpose," Kuster said. "No family or business would knowingly tolerate that type of waste, and neither should the federal government. That's just common sense."
"We need to look for every wasted dollar in the budget," added Cramer. "I am committed to working with my colleagues in both parties to find waste, fraud and abuse at every level. The citizens should be encouraged by the bipartisan effort of the United Solutions Caucus to make our government efficient and effective."
Last year, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) reported that the federal government was spending roughly $173,000 per month to maintain more than 28,000 empty bank accounts at an annual cost of over $2 million. While some progress has been made since then, the Washington Post recently reported that 13,712 empty accounts remain open and will cost at least $890,000 in service fees this year alone if no action is taken to close them.
The CLEAN Act would require the Council of Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency to list bank accounts held by the federal government that have a zero balance. The Council would then recommend which of these accounts should be closed, and the responsible federal agencies would then have no more than one week to close them.
"Clearly, this bill is no substitute for a long-term plan to reduce the deficit, and I continue to urge both parties to work toward that type of responsible compromise," Kuster added. "But the fact is, the federal government shouldn't tolerate any waste -- no matter how big or small. As Congress continues to debate ways to address our nation's fiscal challenges, let's prove to Granite Staters that we're capable of coming together to cut the most obvious examples of waste."
Kuster is committed to cutting waste and inefficiency across the federal government while protecting important services for New Hampshire families and seniors. She is a cosponsor of the Government Waste Reduction Act, bipartisan legislation that could help the government save billions of dollars, cut wasteful spending, and consolidate duplicative programs.
Kuster is also a founding member of the United Solutions Caucus, a bipartisan coalition of Republican and Democratic new members of Congress who are focused on finding common sense solutions to our nation's fiscal challenges. Kuster and Cramer serve as Co-Chairs of the Caucus's Efficiencies and Consolidations Task Force.