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Senator Lankford to Release Second “Federal Fumbles” Gov’t Waste Report

WASHINGTON, DC – Senator James Lankford (R-OK) today announced that he will release a second “Federal Fumbles” government waste and solutions report on November 28. Lankford’s 2015 report, called “Federal Fumbles: 100 ways the government dropped the ball,” identified $105 billion in wasteful federal spending, and about $800 billion in negative regulatory impact to the economy. This year’s report will identify new examples of waste and duplication in government. 

“The American people have signaled a bold new direction for Washington with the election of President-elect Donald Trump,” said Lankford. “Although the federal debt wasn’t a major focus during the presidential campaign, it remains a serious impending crisis that will hurt job growth, social safety net programs, and the ability for America to remain a world leader.

“The federal debt is now approaching a staggering $20 trillion. Since I came to Washington in 2010, our Republican-controlled Congress has reduced our annual deficit, however, we haven’t had a willing partner in the White House to make bold changes to stop the rising debt. Last year, our federal government spent $223 billion, or 6 percent of all discretionary spending, on debt interest payments alone. By the start of the next decade, we will spend more on debt interest than we do on our national defense.

“To lower the debt, we need to grow the economy, and we must root out inefficiencies, duplication, and wasteful spending wherever they exist. This ‘Federal Fumbles’ report will provide specific examples of wasteful spending and unnecessary regulations that are not in the taxpayer’s best interest, and show specific solutions for how the federal government can become more efficient. We had some small victories, over the last year, from my 2015 report – I am hopeful that we can continue to build upon those accomplishments next year.”

To do his part to help reduce federal spending in Congress’ own operational budget, Lankford has operated his Senatorial office budget far below the allotted amount for each Senator. Since he was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2014, Lankford has given back $230,000 to the Treasury each year.

Tease Video:

  • The Office of Senator Lankford also released a short video today to tease the release of the 2016 “Federal Fumbles” report late November 28. CLICK HERE to view the video.

Five Examples of Legislative Victories From 2015 “Federal Fumbles” Report:

  1. Subsidized Wind (page 11) – The Wind Production Tax Credit was originally created as a temporary subsidy to help get the wind energy industry off the ground. The industry is now very successful, yet it receives more than $6 billion in federal tax credits every year. Lankford helped secure a provision in the 2016 Consolidated Appropriations funding bill, which was signed into law last December, to include a three-year phasedown of the wind energy tax credit. 
  2. 25,000+ Ineligible Families In Public Housing (page 71) – Last year, more than 25,000 families in America received federally-subsidized housing from HUD, despite not being qualified for the program. More than $100 million was spent on families, like one in New York with an annual income of $497,911, who earned far more than the allowable amount for federal assistance. Lankford secured a provision in the annual Senate Appropriations bill for HUD (S. 2844) that requires implementation of an IG report’s recommendations to ensure only those who are entitled to federal housing assistance actually receive it.
  3. Disability is Only for the Disabled (page 119) – The Social Security Administration (SSA) has an enormous backlog in disability cases waiting for an Administrative Law Judge hearing. To expedite the backlog, the SSA created a new system to hear cases, but it was found to be costly and legally uncertain. Lankford confronted the SSA with the cost and risk of that scheme and after threats of a subpoena, the SSA reversed their plan and changed direction. This will save the taxpayer millions of dollars of litigation costs and will speed up the disability process.
  4. Caution: Read Before Eating (page 27) – A recent food-labeling FDA rule requires grocery stores, restaurants, and entertainment venues to add more detailed information on each food item sold. While Americans should have information on the food they eat, existing labeling requirements are already very detailed, and this regulation would burden the agriculture industry with more than $1 billion in compliance costs in the first year alone. Lankford helped secure a provision in the 2016 Consolidated Appropriations funding bill, which was signed into law last December, to pause implementation of the rule. 
  5. Taxpayers Right To Know – More than 25 pieces of legislation that address an example of waste in Lankford’s 2015 “Federal Fumbles” report have passed a Committee or one House of Congress, and could progress even further during the lame-duck session of Congress, which ends December 31, 2016. One bill is the Taxpayers Right-to-Know Act, which passed the House and has bipartisan support in the Senate. This bill will promote budget transparency, which will result in federal spending that is more accountable to the taxpayer, especially for questionable grants, which make up a significant amount of waste examples in Lankford’s 2015 report.

Federal Debt Statistics:

  • The federal deficit for Fiscal Year 2016 was $587 billion, and overall debt is now $19.5 Trillion, according to the Treasury Department.
  • The total federal debt of $19,573,444,713,936.79 now equals about $165,575 per household in America.
  • In the eight years of Mr. Obama’s presidency, the federal debt has grown by $9 trillion, nearly matching the total amount of debt accumulated by all of his predecessors.
  • According to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, the projected federal deficit is expected to be $594 billion in Fiscal Year 2017.
  • Annual deficits are projected to increase above $1 trillion within this decade due to America’s aging population. Between 2010 and 2040, the number of Americans age 65 and older will double – from 41 million to 82 million people.