House Blue Dogs propose commission to kill programs

The commission would review each federal program to determine its merits and usefulness

House members have proposed creating a bipartisan board to review all federal programs to decide which should be killed.

Rep. Glenn Nye (D-Va.) and 29 other Democrats introduced the Stop Waste by Eliminating Excessive Programs Act (H.R. 5568), on June 22. The sponsors are all members of the Blue Dog Coalition, which  tries to stop government waste.

The Federal Program Sunset Commission would review each federal program to determine its merit in proven outcomes, its cost-effective record, the scope of interest, and whether another program receives funding for the same purpose.


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The commission would report its findings to Congress each year with recommendations on whether each program should be ended, according to the bill. When it determined a program should end, the commission would draft fast-track legislation to shut down the program. The bill also attempts to limit changes to the draft bill and would allow only limited debate with an up-or-down vote on the recommendation.

In addition, the bill also would require Congress to limit budget authority for each program for as much as 10 years.

The coalition found that in fiscal 2010 Congress appropriated roughly $290 billion for unauthorized programs and activities, and an additional $730 billion for programs and activities are scheduled to expire on or before September 30, based on the Congressional Budget Office's figures.

The SWEEP Act is another proposal to cut waste, as the House has approved similar bills and the Obama administration has started its own efforts.

On June 16, the House has passed the Government Efficiency, Effectiveness and Performance Improvement Act (H.R. 2142), a bill to boost the importance of program assessments in statute to make the government work better.

In the same vein, on June 8, senior Obama administration officials charged all agencies with the task of hunting down wasteful spending and cut out 5 percent of their discretionary budget for fiscal 2012. It wants the money to come from duplicative programs or programs that are not useful in reaching an agency’s mission.

About the Author

Matthew Weigelt is a freelance journalist who writes about acquisition and procurement.

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