Lankford Releases Waste Report: “Federal Fumbles: 100 ways the government dropped the ball”
WASHINGTON, DC— During a press conference today, Senator James Lankford (R-OK) released a federal government waste and solutions report. The report highlights examples of wasteful or duplicative spending, along with burdensome regulations but also offers policy solutions to each of the problems. Lankford’s report, entitled, “Federal Fumbles: 100 ways the government dropped the ball”, will serve as guide for his office to work with federal agencies and departments to turn the waste highlighted in the report to solutions over the next year.
On the need for the Federal Fumbles waste report:
“The concern is that we are going to lose our focus on debt and spending. There are a lot of national issues that we’re facing right now. All of them are very important to us. The debt issue still remains one of those primary issues that has to be resolved and it can be resolved. There’s this belief, that it (debt) is so large it’s difficult to take on, and it’s not fixable. It is fixable. So, what I want to have is some way we can lay a plan in place and we can start to identify some of these issues.
On our current pace, let’s say we are actually to put into place the budget we have and actually fulfill it. That means in ten years from now we’d be back to balance. We would go from, about $450 billion in deficit spending this year to balanced budget in ten years…If we had a $50 billion surplus in the eleventh year, if we did that, we would have to continue to do it every year for the next 460 years to pay off our debt…Now, let’s just say we balanced it next year. If we balanced it next year then it’s only a measly 380 years that we have to have a $50 billion surplus. I think we’re losing track of how difficult this is really going to be long term and what needs to be done.”
On the focus for the Federal Fumble waste report:
“The fumble book that we have isn’t just waste. It’s also areas where the federal government has violated its trusted responsibilities: wasted taxpayer dollars; programs that are ripe with fraud; duplication and inefficiency; over regulating that raises the cost of goods and services; for the consumers and government processes that deceives taxpayers and adds to the family’s debt responsibility. With each of these issues, we also lay out a solution… We also highlight some examples where we think the government is already addressing some of these issues. This is not just a matter of all complaints and no solutions. There are some things that are happening correctly. For instance, some of the duplication reports that the GAO has put out for several years, we have made some progress on that duplication. The Department of Justice, just in the past couple of years, has cut their conferencing budget by 2/3 and they are to be commended for that.
So this is our to-do list. This is what our office plans to work on in the days ahead. This is not just us and what we’re trying to do. We’re encouraging every office to take this on as well. It’s find your own list and look for the common ground and let’s try to get some of these things done.”
Examples from the report highlighted by Senator Lankford:
“Some of these are obvious issues we’ve faced for a long time, like the earned income tax credit. It continues to be the largest area of fraud in the federal government year after year. It’s almost $18 billion in fraud just for this year. That year after year is on the high list of something we need to be able to evaluate as a government.
The death master file is another one. Senator Tom Carper has laid out a bill saying: ‘why can’t the social security administration be able to share this information with other entities?’ We have millions of social security numbers that are hanging out there that those social security numbers are then vulnerable for fraud, into waste, individuals voting on those, individuals getting jobs on those, individuals filing false tax reports on those. That should be resolved, that can be resolved but we’re losing billions of dollars in the process. Some of my other favorites that are out there: the National Park Service did a study on what do bugs do when you turn on the light in a dark rural place. Every person in rural Oklahoma can tell you what bugs do when you turn on the light in a dark place. Some of these are commonsense things we need to be able to evaluate. Why are we doing this?
For the regulations we focused on several things. We focused on what the federal government should do and not do. This is not an anti-regulation piece but some of these regulations do have real effects on Americans. The Waters of the United States rule, the courts have already stopped it. The Corps of Engineers have already said they don’t want to implement this rule. It will be an issue that will cost Americans billions of dollars.
What’s happening with community banks right now, and what’s called the Qualified Mortgage Piece, coming out of Dodd-Frank has real effect in rural America. It is very difficult to get a home loan. In urban areas, there are multiple different banks and different entities that can do home loans. In rural America, there’s usually one or two and if you make it hard, you make it very hard for individuals in rural America to be able to get that.”