Focusing on Fiscal Responsibility
I firmly believe that government governs the best when it does so within its means. We must make fiscally responsible decisions so we can continue to afford critical investments in our future. By cutting wasteful spending, streamlining duplicative programs, and finding inefficiencies throughout government, we can reduce the deficit in a balanced way that protects priorities such as education, research, and health care.
I am committed to working with Republicans and Democrats in Congress to curtail excessive spending, close tax loopholes, and end wasteful subsidies. If both parties come together to focus on finding creative solutions instead of dwelling on ideological disagreements, we can reduce the deficit, get back to balanced budgets, and continue to move our country forward.
That is why I support the following common sense reforms:
- Cleaning Up the Federal Balance Sheet: I introduced the CLEAN Act, bipartisan legislation (H.R. 1856) to force federal agencies to close long-empty bank accounts that cost millions of dollars to maintain while serving no purpose. In 2012, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) reported that the federal government was spending roughly $173,000 per month to maintain more than 28,000 empty bank accounts at an annual cost of over $2 million. I introduced the Closing Long-Empty Accounts Now Act in response to this report that thousands of empty accounts remained open for no reason, racking up expensive service fees for taxpayers. No family or business would knowingly tolerate that type of waste, and neither should the federal government.
- Cutting Wasteful Spending: I helped introduce the Sugar Reform Act (H.R. 1714), legislation that would reform the federal sugar program to lower costs to taxpayers, increase competition in the market, and lower costs for manufacturers. I also cosponsored the Savings, Accountability, Value, and Efficiency (SAVE) Act (H.R. 1999), to cut hundreds of billions in federal spending by reducing waste and increasing efficiency. This bipartisan bill would take commonsense steps, such as eliminating a costly and duplicative catfish inspection program, consolidating federal data centers, and increasing competition in federal contracting.
- Adopting Biennial Budgeting: I am a cosponsor of legislation (H.R. 1869) to adopt a two-year budget cycle for the federal government. Following the example set by New Hampshire and other states, this bill would free up more time for congress to conduct oversight and ensure tax dollars are spent wisely or not at all.
- Improve the Veterans Affairs Budget: I signed on as a cosponsor to the Department of Veterans Affairs Budget Planning Reform Act of 2015 (H.R. 216), which would reform the VA budget process through four major components through the Future-Years Veterans Program: a five year budget program, the Quadrennial Veterans review, ensuring accountability over VA’s longer-term strategic outlook, and to designate a Chief Strategy Officer to provide the VA Secretary with long-range strategies and implications.
- Eliminating Duplication: I helped introduce H.R 937, the Regulatory Improvement Act, which creates an independent commission to propose to Congress certain unnecessary, outdated, and overburdensome regulations for elimination. In 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016 the GAO released reports outlining wasteful and duplicative government programs that should be consolidated or eliminated. For example, these reports highlight overlap between 53 federal programs to assist entrepreneurs and small businesses, twenty entities that provide housing assistance, and over 200 Department of Justice grant programs. Implementing these expert proposals won’t solve all of our fiscal challenges, but they are sensible steps that will make our government more efficient, effective, and accountable to the American people.
I am also a cosponsor of legislation (H.R. 530) to help the government save billions of dollars, cut wasteful spending, and consolidate duplicative programs. The bipartisan Government Waste Reduction Act would advance a series of expert waste-cutting recommendations that were included in recent Government Accountability Office reports but were never acted on by Congress.
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