Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Gary Peters (D-MI) and Cory Gardner (R-CO) today introduced the Congressional Oversight to Start Taxpayer Savings Resolution (COST Savings Resolution), bipartisan legislation that would require Congressional committees to hold oversight hearings on the Government Accountability Office’s (GAO) Annual Report of Opportunities to Reduce Fragmentation, Overlap and Duplication and the GAO High Risk List.
“Congress is responsible for ensuring taxpayer dollars are being used effectively and efficiently, and this annual report provides a roadmap to help Congress streamline government and cut wasteful spending,” said Senator Peters, Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Federal Spending Oversight and Emergency Management. “By reducing programs that overlap or duplicate efforts, we can cut costs for taxpayers and help ensure that government is serving the American people more productively.”
“It’s a waste of taxpayer dollars if the government produces reports on wasteful spending and takes no action,” said Senator Gardner. “The COST Savings Resolution would force Congress to act on these reports and work to eliminate wasteful, duplicative programs. As our national debt tops $20 Trillion, it is time we institute serious reforms and eliminate wasteful spending.”
The COST Savings Resolution directs Congressional committees to take into account recommendations on how to improve the effectiveness of government programs and eliminate unnecessary costs caused by duplicative federal programs, as well as vulnerabilities for waste, fraud, and abuse and the need for transformation of government programs.
The 2016 GAO annual report identified 37 areas across the federal government where Congress could eliminate duplicative programs and improve efficiency and effectiveness, as well as 25 areas where Congress could reduce the cost of government operations. For example, a previous GAO report found that there were multiple agencies in charge of inspecting catfish for human consumption. Streamlining catfish inspection under one agency could save millions of taxpayer dollars without compromising public safety. The 2017 GAO High Risk List identified 34 areas that are at high risk due to vulnerabilities for fraud, waste, abuse and mismanagement, or are most in need of transformation. The COST Savings Resolution would ensure that Congress acts on these reports produced by GAO.
Peters has made good stewardship of federal dollars a priority in the U.S. Senate. As Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Federal Spending Oversight and Emergency Management, Peters is tasked with ensuring the federal government operates effectively and that tax dollars are used efficiently. In 2015, Peters introduced the bipartisan Federal Vehicle Repair Cost Savings Act, which was signed into law, requiring federal agencies to encourage the use of remanufactured parts in federal vehicle repairs. The federal government spends nearly $1 billion annually to maintain a fleet of approximately 588,000 vehicles. According to a study Peters requested from the Government Accountability Office (GAO), remanufactured parts are often less expensive than new replacement parts.
Last year, Peters’ bipartisan Making Electronic Government Accountable By Yielding Tangible Efficiencies (MEGABYTE) Actwas also signed into law, which reduces government waste by improving the oversight and management of federal software licenses to save tax dollars.