Thursday, September 29, 2011

Senate appropriators' secret war against oversight - GAO Proposed Cuts Ignored

Like Coburn says, they are shooting the messenger. It seems that each time there is a report with recommendations to cut spending, both the Democrats and Republicans run for the hills. No one steps up and proposes specific bills to get the job done. Why not take the GAO list of savings and divvy it up among the Republican House members and have their staffs develop clear and concise bills for passage. I'm sure that many of the bills would pass the House and then the Senate Democrats in the Senate and Obama could take the lumps when they fail to pass them.

Seven months ago, the non-partisan Government Accountability Office released a landmark report identifying at least $200 billion in wasteful, duplicative, and fraudulent government programs. At a time when we’re bankrupt as a nation – our debt now exceeds the size of our GDP and we have no way to finance our long-term liabilities – the report was a treasure map of easy-to-find savings.

Yet, in the last seven months, Congress has failed to send a single cut identified by GAO to the president’s desk. Even worse, instead of cutting the spending identified by GAO, the Senate Appropriations Committee is now proposing to slash funding for GAO itself.

In the legislative branch appropriations bill for fiscal year 2012, GAO is singled out for excessively deep cuts and new, overly burdensome mandates that will consume the agency’s limited resources to no apparent benefit.

At a time when we need serious oversight to make smart cuts, the Appropriations Committee itself admits its proposal will hurt GAO’s ability to do oversight. The committee report concedes “it is evident that many of the services provided by the GAO will be curtailed due to reductions in staff and resources.”

The logic of the committee’s proposal is tough to decipher. Yet, it is clear shooting the messenger (GAO) won’t make the message go away. And the message coming from our citizens and the international financial community is this: if we want our economy to survive and recover we need live within our means. GAO’s recommendations are the place to start cutting, not GAO itself.

Read full Examiner article here.

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