Gardner measure would require committee oversight on efforts to streamline government

Cory Gardner

Congressional committees would be required to hold oversight hearings on a report on reducing overlap and duplication in federal government under bipartisan legislation introduced by U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) on Thursday.

“It’s a waste of taxpayer dollars if the government produces reports on wasteful spending and takes no action,” Gardner said.

The Congressional Oversight to Start Taxpayer Savings Resolution (COST) would require committees to hold hearings on the Government Accountability Office’s (GAO) Annual Report of Opportunities to Reduce Fragmentation, Overlap and Duplication and the GAO High Risk List.

“The COST Savings Resolution would force Congress to act on these reports and work to eliminate wasteful, duplicative programs,” Gardner said. “As our national debt tops $20 trillion, it is time we institute serious reforms and eliminate wasteful spending.”

Thirty-seven areas of the federal government where Congress could eliminate duplicative programs, improving efficiency and effectiveness, were identified in the GAO’s 2016 annual report. In one example, a GAO report highlighted that there were multiple agencies in charge of inspecting catfish for human consumption. Putting just one agency in charge of those inspections could save taxpayers millions of dollars, lawmakers said.

U.S. Sen. Gary Peters (D-MI), who introduced the measure with Gardner, said Congress is responsible for ensuring taxpayer dollars are used effectively and efficiently, and the GAO report could serve as a roadmap to help streamline government and cut wasteful spending.

“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,” Peters said.

The GAO’s 2017 High Risk List report identified 34 areas that are vulnerable to fraud, waste, abuse and mismanagement, or are most in need of transformation.