Cooper Measure Will Stop the (Spending) Madness
January 4, 2013
Those identical sentences aren’t typos, but a demonstration of how Congress works today, often creating new federal programs that duplicate existing ones.
Yesterday, however, in unusually fast action, members of the 113th Congress approved a rules measure based on a bill introduced by Rep. Jim Cooper (TN-05) that will require the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to provide a “duplication score” for each new bill explaining whether it creates federal programs identical to existing ones.
“When you’re in a hole, the first rule is to stop digging,” said Cooper. “This will help Congress do our homework so that we don’t create a new program if a good one that does the same thing already exists.”
Key GAO findings and examples of duplication, mismanagement and waste in 2012 include:
• Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Education. There are 209 federal STEM education programs, administered by 13 different federal agencies, costing taxpayers more than $3 billion annually.
• Financial Literacy. There are 56 financial literacy programs across 20 federal agencies, according to a March 2011 survey of federal agencies. However, a subsequent analysis by GAO found that there were 15 financial literacy programs across 13 federal agencies, costing taxpayers more than $30 million annually, if a narrower definition of financial literacy is used.
• Support to Private Sector on Green Buildings. There are 94 federal initiatives to encourage green building in the private sector, run by 11 different federal agencies.