U.S. Rep. Cheri Bustos, D-East Moline, has introduced a bill that would create a 15-member panel to "reduce duplicative services and root out waste in government."
The panel would be tasked with developing proposals to act on recommendations from a U.S. Government Accountability Office report that highlighted dozens of programs similar in nature and could be consolidated to save money.
Among the findings of the report, released in 2011, was that the federal government has 44 overlapping job training programs and 80 programs for economic development across a number of different agencies.The report also highlighted administrative and management offices in the Department of Defense that could be consolidated.
The Government Waste Reduction Act of 2013 is the first bill introduced by Rep. Bustos since she took office last month. In a conference call with reporters Wednesday, she said she was seeking Republican and Democrat co-sponsors for the bill.
"I learned at a young age that balancing the family budget and living within our means is a question of values," Rep. Bustos said. "Instead of balancing the federal budget on the backs of Illinois middle class families, seniors and veterans, we can start by reducing duplicative services and rooting out waste in government."
The 340-page GAO report has "been gathering dust on the shelves" since it was published in 2011, Rep. Bustos said. On the campaign trail she raised the report as a way the government could save money without cutting benefits for seniors or veterans.
She does not have a specific dollar target for how much money could be saved if recommendations in the document are implemented, but anticipates savings in the "tens of billions of dollars."
The 15-member panel would include three Republicans and three Democrats from the House with the same number split between the parties from the Senate and three members to be appointed by the White House.
Recommendations from the panel would go to Congress for an up or down vote, Rep. Bustos said.Each proposal made to Congress would have to result in a decrease of overall government spending or enhance government revenue.
Cutting back on duplicated government programs could result in job losses for federal workers but Rep. Bustos said taxpayers are her priority.
"I would always be sympathetic to any kind of job losses," Rep. Bustos said. "But I'm also sympathetic to the taxpayers and what this does is it looks out for the taxpayers above all else."
Today is Thursday, April 17, the 107th day of 2014. There are 258 days left in the year.
1864 -- 150 years ago: Journeymen shoemakers of Rock Island struck for higher wages yesterday morning, asking 25 percent increases. Employers have acceded to their demand. 1889 -- 125 years ago: Lighting struck wires of the Merchants Electric Light Co. during a furious storm, and many Rock Island business houses were compelled to resort to gas as a means of illumination. 1914 -- 100 years ago: Members of the First Church of Christ, Scientist, decided to erect a new edifice at a cost of about $60,000. 1939 -- 75 years ago: Willard Anderson, junior forward for the Augustana College basketball team, which won 17 out of 22 contests, was elected captain of the quintet. 1964 -- 50 years ago: John Hoffman, Moline, president of the Sac-Fox Council of Boy Scouts, will be honored for his 50 years in scouting by members of the council at a dinner Thursday evening. 1989 -- 25 years ago: The Quad-Cities has what is believed to be the area's first elite-class gymnast. It's the stuff upon which Olympic competitors are made. Tiffany Chapman, of Rock Island, not only has earned the highest possible gymnast ranking, she won the honor at age 11.