Reducing Waste and Mismanagement: Implementing Agency Watchdogs’ Recommendations Could Save Taxpayer Billions

Witness and Testimony Documents
Deputy Secretary
U.S. Department of Education
Inspector General
U.S. Department of Education
Deputy Secretary
U.S. Department of Transportation
Inspector General
U.S. Department of Transportation
March 05, 2013, 10:00 a.m. in 2154 Rayburn House Office Building
I want to thank Ranking Member Cummings for joining me in a hearing that should serve as the fact-based blueprint for the conversation unfolding about government savings and government spending. With the attention of policymakers on how to best manage the $85 billion sequestration, this is the time to lead a discussion about finding and eliminating waste that is based on fact.We have heard tales of massive teacher layoffs, pay cuts for Capitol janitors and security guards and other cuts that seem to defy common sense. The disturbing thing is these stories are just that – stories.

We are here today to talk about the facts: billions in federal government waste identified by non-partisan watchdogs. We are joined by two widely-respected IGs who have spent years examining government programs, identifying areas of waste and know firsthand what recommendations could save taxpayers money.

In 2009, there 10,894 open and unimplemented recommendations that came from the Inspectors General community. In 2012, that number ballooned to 16,906. Today, that represents $67 billion in savings.

This project of tracking unimplemented IG recommendations actually began under then-Chairman Henry Waxman.  Since 2009, I have asked Inspectors General to continue producing responses identifying top priorities for savings.

Today’s hearing and testimony from these two IGs is not isolated to their two departments – it’s indicative of what has been going on government wide. That is where the focus on spending cuts needs to happen.

Quite frankly, it shouldn’t take an act like the sequester to get government to do what it already should be doing:  cut out waste, stop wasting taxpayer dollars and demand the highest threshold possible of transparency and accountability.

But instead of hyping the impact of the 2.3% budget cut, it would be much more productive to stop playing politics and look for areas where we can find real savings. This hearing will hopefully re-focus the attention to where it should be – away from theatrics and on real reform.