Feb 10, 2011
Press Release

WASHINGTON – Congressman Jim Cooper (D-TN) has introduced bipartisan legislation with Congressmen Aaron Schock (R-IL), Mike Quigley (D-IL), and Joe Walsh (R-IL) to eliminate wasteful government programs.

The Federal Program Sunset Commission Act (H.R. 606) creates a bipartisan commission comprised of Members of the House and Senate, as well as outside experts, to help abolish duplicative, unnecessary, or inefficient programs.

“Our government is bloated by too many wasteful federal programs,” said Congressman Jim Cooper. “It is time to cut the fat. Congress needs to tighten its belt and take better care of taxpayer dollars. This bill is a good place to start.”

The Federal Program Sunset Commission Act builds upon H.R. 2142 from the 111th Congress (P.L. 111-352), which installed a new system to review the results of each federal program and evaluate its effectiveness. The Federal Program Sunset Commission Act would add much-needed teeth in order to eliminate programs that are not performing by abolishing those federal programs which fail to measure up.

“Getting Washington’s spending spree under control should be a bipartisan priority, because economic improvement and job creation are directly tied to lowering our federal deficit,” said Congressman Schock.

Every September 1st, the Sunset Commission will report to Congress and provide a list of federal programs selected for abolishment, as well as recommendations for how to improve or consolidate others. Within six months of being listed for abolishment, the federal program will cease to receive any federal funding, with unobligated amounts returned to the Treasury to reduce the deficit. Congress can overturn the abolishment of any federal program by simply choosing to reauthorize it at any time.

The Sunset Commission will be comprised of ten Members appointed by the President, five of whom are former members of Congress and five of whom are non-Congressional Members with expertise in the administration of government programs. No more than three members in each category may be of the same political party. Sunset Commission Members are term-limited and will not be paid.

News and Accolades

The Concord Coaltion said that this bill is a "fiscally responsible step that could eliminate waste, reduce spending and help restore public trust in government."

The Bipartisan Policy Center calls it a "commendable act of bipartisan collaboration" that should be used as part of a "bipartisan and comprehensive effort" to "address our fiscal imbalance."  

The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget says it is a "good start towards government reform."