Guest Column: Bustos: A common-sense, bipartisan approach to cutting government waste

U.S. Rep. Cheri Bustos (D)

By U.S. Rep. Cheri Bustos, D-Ill.

Every year, think tanks, auditors, investigators, and even Uncle Sam’s own Government Accountability Office crank out report after report concluding the same thing — too many federal government programs are inefficient, costly, ineffective or all of the above.

And yet, every year, these conclusions are largely ignored. As a consequence, the federal government unnecessarily wastes billions of dollars a year while many government programs continue to operate without concrete goals or standards for success.

Well, I want to put an end to that and save your hard-earned tax dollars from waste — while also protecting middle-class priorities.

That’s why Republican Sen. Mark Kirk and I recently partnered to put forth the Government Transformation Act, which has been incorporated into No Labels’ Make Government Work! initiative that was unveiled late last month.

Our common-sense bill establishes a new bipartisan Commission for Government Transformation, which would oversee and affect the transformation of various federal government programs and functions so they will be more economical, efficient and effective.

The Commission would feature seven members — appointed by the president and the leadership of both parties in the House and the Senate — and a dedicated expert staff that would review all activities of government and develop specific legislative recommendations.

Numerous facets of the federal government’s operations demand reform, and the Commission would examine issues including: government management practices, financial controls, the alignment of specific programs with strategic goals and the elimination of failed programs.

Any recommendations from the Commission would be sent to Congress for a simple up or down vote.

The plan would save taxpayers billions of dollars by rooting out government waste and eliminating duplicative programs, and at the same time making sure the important services middle class families rely on are protected.

To give you just one example, the federal government has 47 job training programs, 44 of which overlap. By consolidating these programs, we can save tens of billions of dollars while not affecting their quality.

My bipartisan bill attacks government waste and helps ensure government programs are more economical, efficient and effective.

I think this is a common-sense idea that Democrats and Republicans can both agree on.

U.S. Rep. Cheri Bustos represents Illinois’ 17th Congressional District and is a member of No Labels and a Congressional Problem Solver. She lives in East Moline, Ill., with her husband, Gerry. They have three grown sons.

From the Aug. 21-27, 2013, issue

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