Congressman Jim Cooper

Representing the 5th District of Tennessee
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Cooper Bill Would Curb Duplication in Government

Jan 28, 2015
Press Release

WASHINGTON – A bipartisan bill reintroduced today by Rep. Jim Cooper (D-TN) and Rep. Tim Walberg (R-MI) would require the federal government to find ways to eliminate duplicative programs.

The Taxpayers Right to Know Act unanimously passed the House in the last session of Congress. It would compel each federal agency to publish an annual report card for all of its programs.

Each agency’s list would be submitted to the Office of Management and Budget, which would determine how many identical and overlapping government programs exist and recommend ways to eliminate duplication.

“I hate when taxpayer money is wasted,” Rep. Cooper said. “It’s embarrassing that we even need this bill. Congress knows what it should cut. It just needs to do the job.”

“The American people deserve to know how their hard-earned tax dollars are spent, and the federal government should be accountable for its spending,” Rep. Walberg said. “It’s no secret the federal government is cluttered with wasteful and duplicative programs, and this bipartisan bill will help identify the outdated programs that should be streamlined or eliminated to save taxpayer money.”

U.S. Sen. James Lankford (R-OK) plans on introducing an identical companion measure in the Senate.

Each government program would be identified and reports would outline:

  • Total administrative costs of the program;
  • Total expenditures for services;
  • Total number of beneficiaries who receive assistance from the program; and
  • An estimate of the number of staff who administer the program, including contractor staff.

Each report also would include:

  • A listing of other programs within the agency with duplicative or overlapping missions and services;
  • The latest performance reviews for the program, including the metrics used to review the program;
  • The latest improper payment rate for the program, including fraudulent payments; and
  • The total amount of unspent and unobligated program funds held by the agency and grant recipients.

This information would be updated annually and posted online, along with recommendations to consolidate duplicative and overlapping programs; to eliminate waste and inefficiency; and to terminate lower priority, outdated and unnecessary programs.

The bill is based on the annual report from the Government Accountability Office on government duplication, waste and mismanagement. Last year’s report found 64 actions across 26 areas – ranging from unemployment benefits to military contracting practices – where agencies may be able to achieve greater efficiency or effectiveness.