Schock Leads Effort to Cut Federal Spending
Offers bill to abolish under-performing and duplicative federal programs
Feb 10, 2011 -
Congressmen Aaron Schock (IL-18) took a step forward on Thursday to put a stop to wasteful spending by targeting government programs that are considered unnecessary. Schock led a bipartisan group of House members in introducing legislation to create the Federal Program Sunset Commission, H.R. 606.
This legislation would create a bipartisan commission made up of former Members of the House and Senate as well as outside experts to abolish federal programs that are found to be duplicative, unnecessary, inefficient, or don’t meet specific performance standards.
“People all across the country want a change in the spending behavior of Washington; even President Obama has pledged to find ways to weed out federal programs that are duplicative and burdensome,” said Schock. “Let’s start by having a bipartisan commission review and evaluate every federal program and shut down those programs that everyone agrees can be consolidated or abolished altogether.”
Joining Schock in this effort are two other members of the Illinois delegation Republican Joe Walsh and Democrats Mike Quigley of Illinois and Tennessee Congressman Jim Cooper.
“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,” added Schock.
University of Maryland Professor Carmen Reinhart, who is also a member of both the National Bureau of Economic Research and Center for Economic Policy Research, recently warned the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility that debt loads above 90 percent of GDP result in a reduction in economic growth of one percentage point. According to the Administration’s Romer-Bernstein economic model, a one percent increase in GDP could create 979,000 jobs.
Congressmen Jim Cooper of Tennessee, who Schock sat with during the State of the Union, agrees its time steps are taken to reduce spending. “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 composition of the commission would include ten members appointed by the President of the United States with the advice and consent of the Senate. The ten members would include five former members of congress and five individuals who are considered to have expertise within the operation and administration of Federal programs. Such experts would include former Budget directors, Comptroller Generals, former State governors and former agency secretaries to name a few. In a sign of how serious this legislation is the commission would be granted the authority to hold hearings, subpoena testimony from relevant witnesses and question individual federal agencies in an effort to better understand the programs taxpayers are funding year after year.
“Like my freshmen colleagues, I was sent to Washington to cut spending and make government more efficient,” stated Congressman Joe Walsh. “This commission will play a key role in accomplishing this directive.”
“I look forward to working with my colleagues in Illinois and the Administration to streamline, consolidate, and reinvent government for the modern era,” said Congressman Mike Quigley.
As the legislation states, every September 1, the Commission would report to Congress 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 in the future, with unobligated amounts for the current fiscal year returned to the Treasury to reduce deficits. Congress would have the authority to overturn abolishment of any federal program by simply choosing to reauthorize it.
“There is no question we are at a tipping point in the size of the massive debt that has been building for years,” said Schock. “This commission will help us downsize the federal budget and ensure it’s done in a way that is in the best interest of our country.
“I’m optimistic in a year where bipartisan support runs high to trim government waste, reduce responsibly the federal budget, and rein in our deficit we can put in place a fair system to help us accomplish these goals.”