Eliminating Waste, Fraud and Abuse
As a member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform – the chief government watchdog – I have a powerful perch from which to expose waste, fraud and abuse within the federal bureaucracy. The practice of good governance requires periodic evaluations of federal programs and expenditures to review and debate their necessity, their efficiency and, sometimes, their constitutionality. I have been relentless in such pursuits and have sought to restore fiscal responsibility as well as commonsense to a bloated federal government that has lost its way.
Shamefully, the federal government continues to be a terrible steward of your tax dollars. Each year government bureaucracy wastes approximately $1.67 billion maintaining more than 77,000 vacant or underutilized federal properties. Even more atrocious, the Inspector General reported in 2013 that the State Department squandered $630,000 “buying fans” for its social media accounts. The federal government allows legal brothels in Nevada to claim $17.5 million annually in tax deductions through the tax code; the federal government wastes more than 20 percent (amounting to billions yearly) on federal construction projects using an outdated wage calculation formula that has been determined to be 100% fraudulent. Unfortunately, these examples are more of the rule that the exception and I could list more than 100 other wasteful examples just from this past year alone.
If Congress is serious about eliminating waste, fraud and abuse, then we must return to regular order in the budget process. Under regular order, each federal program’s effectiveness is reviewed annually. Then Congress can make informed choices as to whether it would like to improve, maintain or eliminate each program. Shockingly, this process has not been followed in its entirety since 1994. Rather than adopting a budget resolution that caps spending levels and then appropriating funds through 12 different bills, Congress has funded the government the last couple years through massive 1,000+ page bills that legislators were given only 48 hours or so to read. This deeply flawed process does not allow members to know what's in these bills or for amendments that cut reckless spending and reprioritize programs.
Our citizens expect and deserve a lean, efficient federal government that only funds effective and necessary programs. This year, I will continue the fight to eliminate as much waste as possible through any and all means necessary. With a $18 trillion plus federal debt, the time to act is now. We, both Democrats and Republicans, must chart a responsible budget course. I will continue to eliminate waste, fraud and abuse wherever I can. The American people and hard-working taxpayers deserve nothing less.
2015 Legislative Year in Review
During 2015, I was able to get nine of my legislative initiatives signed into public law and passed 27 amendments through the House. My WAPA Report language will bring transparency to this massive bureaucracy. Retention of one of my riders prohibits funds for an unconstitutional National Roadside Survey. Retention of another of my riders will save taxpayer money and prohibit wasteful spending on Scrims.
In June of 2015, the House passed my amendment to prohibit any funds from being used for the Federal Transit Administration’s proposed Rapid Growth Area Transit Program. With significant infrastructure needs, including road and bridge maintenance, now is not the time to be spending $500 million on a new discretionary bus transit program. CLICK HERE to learn more about my successful effort that was signed into law and blocked one of President Obama’s terrible new proposals, keeping $500 million in the Highway Trust Fund.
In June 2015, the House passed my amendment that cut the EPA budget by $61,304,000. Over the past 6 years, the EPA, at the behest of the Obama Administration, has taken unprecedented actions to defy the rule of law and enact far-left, extremist policies by executive fiat. In response, I am more than happy to remind this out-of-control, rogue agency about our Constitution and system of checks and balances which includes ‘the power of the purse’ granted to the House of Representatives. Click HERE to read more.
Another one of my amendments passed into law will save taxpayer money and prohibits funds from being used on Government Travel Charge Card expenses for gaming, or entertainment that includes topless or nude entertainers. "A recent Defense inspector general report found that civilian and military employees between 2013 and 2014 used government charge cards to make more than $1 million in purchases at casinos and to pay for adult entertainment." CLICK HERE to read more.
In June 2015, I passed an amendment to the Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2016 which cut funds from the Department of Justice's General Legal Account, specifically targeting the Deputy Attorney General's office until the Attorney General fully enforces current federal criminal immigration laws. In recent years, DOJ has instructed U.S. Attorney’s Offices in some states not to prosecute persons that violate certain criminal immigration laws and to terminate worthwhile enforcement programs like Operation Streamline. In order to change the rampant culture of corruption within this rogue agency, I cut funds for DOJ employees who have failed to enforce our immigration laws. CLICK HERE to read more.
In June 2015, I passed two amendments through the House and cut $10 million from ATF's budget. My first successful amendment cut $5 million from ATF bureaucrats and redirected those resources to Veterans Treatment Courts. My second successful amendment cut $5 million from ATF bureaucrats and redirected those resources amendment to the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program, restoring PDMP funding to the original House-approved levels from last year. PDMP has proven to be an effective tool in reducing the growth of prescription drug abuse which has contributed to addiction, health deterioration and even untimely death for far too many across our country. CLICK HERE to read more.
In May 2015, I introduced the bipartisan No Welfare for Weed Act. A Fox31 Denver investigation from February of last year revealed tens of thousands of dollars have been pulled out of ATM’s using welfare EBT cards and been used to purchase marijuana. Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell stated in a letter to Senator Sessions that the federal government does not have the authority to prevent states from allowing welfare recipients to purchase marijuana with welfare benefits. H.R. 2331, the Bipartisan No Welfare for Weed Act, provides a mechanism and prohibits marijuana from being purchased with SNAP and TANF welfare benefits. CLICK HERE to read more.
In March 2015, I introduced bipartisan legislation, H.R. 2210, the Coach-Only Airfare for Capitol Hill Act, to prohibit members of Congress from using official funds known as Member Representational Allowance (MRA) to purchase first-class airline tickets while traveling for official Congressional duties. Currently, there exists a loophole that allows members of Congress to fly first-class at the expense of hardworking taxpayers. Members of Congress are public servants of the people and should not be considered a privileged status. As current regulations prevent men and women serving in the U.S. military from flying first-class, there is absolutely no reason why members of Congress should be given a special exemption not offered to our nation’s heroes. It’s time to end the double standard and rein in this abuse. CLICK HERE to read more.
Rep. Paul Gosar 113th Congress Legislative Accomplishemets
In the 113th Congress, I had more success than any other member of Congress, with six bills signed into law by the president, 12 other of my legislative efforts becoming law, 24 of my amendments passing the House, and positively affecting almost one billion dollars in federal spending. Most of my successful amendments targeted wasteful spending and government overreach. I successfully passed amendments that cut $345.6 million for the IRS budget and prohibited bonuses for IRS executives, blocked funds from going towards an unconditional roadside survey, and blocked Obama's request for $29 million for a new, duplicative climate change program.
Rep. Paul Gosar 2014 Appropriations Report Card
In the 2014 appropriations season, I had more success than any other member of Congress, passing 21 of 27 amendments (78%) and positively affecting approximately $911,565,856 in spending. My amendments accounted for more than 10% of the total amendments passed by the House during the appropriations season. I have been relentless in such pursuits and have sought to restore fiscal responsibility as well as commonsense to a bloated federal government that has lost its way. I will continue to cut wasteful federal spending wherever I can. The American people and taxpayers deserve nothing less.
In June of 2014, the House passed my amendment to prohibit approximately $440 million dollars within the Department of Defense Appropriations Act for fiscal year 2015 from being disbursed to ISIS, Hamas, Iran, the Palestinian Authority and other Foreign Terrorist Organizations. With our federal debt and foreign policy in shambles, it is long past time that Congress prevent federal dollars from going towards organizations and countries who actively work to harm the United States and its interests. Click HERE to read more.
In July of 2014, the House of Representatives sent a strong message to the IRS and the Administration, "Shape up or lose your funding." The House passed an appropriations bill which cut funding to the IRS by over $1 billion and to its lowest level since 2003. The House unanimously adopted one my amendments that cut funds for the IRS by $353 million as part of the Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Act of fiscal year 2015. Another one of my successful amendments prohibited bonuses for senior executive service employees at the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for fiscal year 2015. CLICK HERE to read more.
In July 2014, the House passed my amendment and blocked Obama's request for $29 million for a new, duplicative climate change program. The non-partisan Congressional Research Service estimates the Administration has spent almost $77 billion from FY2008 through FY2013 studying and trying to develop global climate change regulations. This amendment was about restoring fiscal responsibility and efficiency to federal spending as well as preventing duplication. CLICK HERE to learn more about my successful effort that was signed into law and blocked Obama’s $29 million and $18.7 million requests for a new climate change program.
In July 2014, the House passed two of my amendments to the Legislative Branch Appropriations Act of 2015 to save taxpayers money. My first successful amendment saved $3.1 million and prevented a budget increase for the United States Botanic Garden. My second successful amendment that was signed into law prevented printing of life-size photographs of building facades on scrims that conceal scaffolding erected to repair public buildings in the United States Capitol Complex. The Architect of the Capitol wasted a bunch of taxpayer money on this practice during renovations of the Supreme Court and justified this lavish practice by asserting that this practice is "used extensively in Europe." The only reason there is not a wasteful scrim concealing the scaffolding of the Capitol right now is because of my language in law blocking this practice. CLICK HERE to read more.
In June 2014, I first pushed a legislative effort to prohibit funds for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s National Roadside Survey. This program was not only wasteful and ineffective, but it was an infringement on our Constitutional rights to privacy and the 4th Amendment civil liberties of American Citizens. The implementation of the survey used uniformed police officers to stop drivers and allow researchers to collect a passive alcohol sensor reading before the driver agreed to participate in the survey. Previous surveys have squandered almost $8 million dollars of taxpayer money and done nothing to make our communities safer. CLICK HERE to learn more this successful legislative effort that was signed into federal law in both the 2014 and 2015 end-of-the-year spending bills.
In response to the Army mandating new uniforms, I heard objections from many active-duty service members, veterans and constituents in my district. These citizens claimed the old CWU model is in fact safer, cheaper and more efficient. As a result, I passed an amendment to the Department of Defense Appropriations Act that was estimated to save more than $5 million by requiring the Army to move back to the CWU-27/P Army Aviation Flight Uniforms. Click HERE to read more.
In the 113th Congress, an Inspector General Report highlighted a disgraceful example of government waste. The report found that in 2010 the federal government spent more than $3 million dollars on patrol boats for the Afghan National Police that were never shipped to the landlocked Afghanistan. According to the Office of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, the cost of each patrol boat was more than $265,000. The Washington Post has reported that similar patrol boats can be purchased in the United States for approximately $50,000. My successful amendment passed the House and prohibited the Department of Defense from wasting more money on storage for these eight patrol boats which had already cost taxpayers more than $3 million. Click HERE to read more.
Here is a detailed list of all 27 amendments with also includes the link to the press releases for most of these efforts and a projected cost savings.
**Some of the below figures are best estimates based on prior year spending etc.