Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senators Tom Coburn, M.D. (R-OK), Mark Udall (D-CO), Rand Paul (R-KY), and Claire McCaskill (D-MO) today introduced an amendment that would require all legislation to be reviewed before it is considered by the Senate to prevent the creation of duplicative and overlapping government programs. In March, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report identifying hundreds of duplicative and overlapping programs costing approximately $217 billion a year. GAO stated “reducing or eliminating duplication, overlap, or fragmentation could potentially save billions of taxpayer dollars annually and help agencies provide more efficient and effective services.” GAO found 47 separate job training programs, 88 economic development programs, 82 teacher quality programs, and 56 financial literacy programs. Despite GAO’s findings, Congress has been slow to address this problem.
“Congress creates hundreds of new programs every year, adding to the thousands that already exist. Every time we create a new program that duplicates an existing program, taxpayers end up footing the bill for both programs. At a time when our $14 trillion debt has become our greatest national security threat, that is an absolute embarrassment. No family in America would handle their finances in such a haphazard and careless manner. Creating new programs may seem more politically popular than reviewing existing programs. Yet, I am convinced the American people are demanding the kind of common sense oversight and stewardship of their tax dollars this bill calls for. I’m pleased many of my colleagues on both sides of the aisle agree,” said Dr. Coburn.
“Too often, it seems like Congress is so focused on creating new programs that we forget our job is supposed to include oversight and reform,” Mark Udall said. “That’s why our amendment to cut down on the number of wasteful and duplicative programs is crucial. It’s an important step that will help change the culture in Congress, cut down on waste and save taxpayers money.”