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 Sunday, Dec. 8, the 342nd day of 2013. There are 23 days left in the year. 1863 -- 150 years ago: For the whole of last week we have been favored with the most delightful Indian summer weather, and mercury ranging from 40 to 65 above zero. The river is entirely clear of ice and looks as mild and soft as summer. 1888 -- 125 years ago: Albert Johnson was appointed a deputy in the circuit clerk's office. 1913 -- 100 years ago: 800 or more tons of earth in six landslides covered 38th Street for a distance of 200 feet near 7th Avenue and destroyed much property. 1938 -- 75 years ago: One of the 350-foot towers, which with a new transmitter will increase the power of WHBF to 1,000 watts day and night, has been completed on a 20-acre tract at 23rd Avenue and 51st Street, Moline. 1963 -- 50 years ago: In cooperation with The Associated Press, The Argus presents to its readers a complete, beginning-to-end account of one of the most tragic and dreadful chapters in American history, the assassination of President Kennedy, available in book form, and now in preparation. The book is entitled "The Torch is Passed." 1988 -- 25 years ago: Deere & Co. stockholders received good news of a boost in their quarterly dividends from 20 to 30 cents per share of common stock. The dividend, made to stockholders of record on Dec. 30, will be payable on Feb. 1, 1989.