Bipartisan legislation to address waste and duplication in federal programs was introduced last week in the House and Senate. Sponsored by Senators Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) and Mark Udall (D-Colo.) as well as Representatives Jim Cooper (D-Tenn.), James Lankford (R-Okla.), and Sue Myrick (R-N.C.), the legislation would require the Congressional Research Service to analyze each bill considered by Congress to determine whether it would duplicate existing federal programs.
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has identified billions of dollars that could be saved each year by eliminating federal programs where duplication, overlap or fragmentation exists. In 2011 GAO identified 81 separate areas where duplication could be eliminated and this year GAO identified an additional 51 areas.
Tackling waste in government is a necessary first step in reducing our debt because it could build public trust and support for difficult decisions ahead on issues such as tax and entitlement reform. The legislation introduced last week is a fiscally responsible proposal that could aid in this task.