The Refuse of the Federal Spending Binge II: How U.S. Taxpayers are Paying Double for Failing Government Programs

Hearing Date: March 3, 2011 12:00 am

Chairman Darrell Issa Hearing Preview Statement

Thursday’s hearing of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, entitled “Waste and Abuse: The Refuse of the Federal Spending Binge II: How U.S. Taxpayers are Paying Double for Failing Government Programs,” will examine the waste associated with duplicative federal initiatives.

On Tuesday, March 1, 2011, the Government Accountability Office (“GAO”) released its first annual report to Congress about redundant programs, agencies, and offices in the federal government. According to the report, taxpayers are now double-funding a wide array of programs, from food safety systems to surface transportation and employment training. While some of these programs are worthy endeavors that meet the government’s basic responsibilities, the fragmented approach of federal departments and agencies to meet these goals demands immediate reform.

At a time when the American people are increasingly concerned about the inflated cost of government and runaway federal deficits, duplicative programs present an obvious area for spending cuts. The GAO has identified that in some instances more than 100 programs spread across numerous agencies are addressing the same concerns. Senator Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) has projected that the programs GAO identified represent more than $100 billion in annual losses to U.S. taxpayers. Eliminating this fragmentation and duplication could save taxpayers billions of dollars annually and foster a more responsive and efficient delivery of government services.

Additionally, the hearing will afford Congress an opportunity to consider the larger problem of federal budgeting. The hearing will provide lawmakers with the raw data of government waste on a program-by-program, line-by-line basis. For more than two years, the Administration has expressed a desire to move forward with this kind of comprehensive budget analysis. As the Constitution gives the United States Congress the exclusive power to establish, organize and fund all federal departments and agencies, the responsibility to assess the scale of duplicative waste and reverse the trend of bureaucratic overgrowth rests with the legislative branch.

With this in mind, the Oversight Committee is leading the effort to find solutions that address the problems exposed by the GAO report.

Witnesses and testimonies

Name Title Organization Panel Document
The Honorable Thomas M. Davis III Director of Federal Government Affairs Deloitte & Touche LLP Document
The Honorable Gene L. Dodaro Comptroller General of the United States U.S. Government Accountability Office Document
Ms. Ryan Alexander President Taxpayers for Common Sense Document
The Honorable Jacob J. Lew (invited) Director Office of Management and Budget