Congressman Jim Cooper

Representing the 5th District of Tennessee
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Cooper Measure Will Stop the (Spending) Madness

Jan 4, 2013
Press Release

WASHINGTON – Our government is cluttered with unnecessary programs. Our government is cluttered with unnecessary programs. Our government is cluttered with unnecessary programs. Our government is cluttered with unnecessary programs.

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.