This week, U.S. Congressman Paul A. Gosar, D.D.S. (AZ-04) led a series of legislative efforts to eliminate waste, fraud and abuse within the federal government.
For Immediate Release
Date: March 19, 2014
Contact: Garrett Hawkins
Gosar Targets Wasteful Spending
'One of my top priorities is eliminating waste, fraud and abuse'
This week, U.S. Congressman Paul A. Gosar, D.D.S. (AZ-04) led a series of legislative efforts to eliminate waste, fraud and abuse within the federal government. Specifically, Rep. Gosar authored and submitted five requests to the Committee on Appropriations for specific language to be included in Fiscal Year 2015 appropriations bills. Rep. Gosar targeted precise areas of waste and abuse that occurred previously and sought to prohibit their reoccurrence.
"One of my top priorities is eliminating waste, fraud and abuse within the bloated federal bureaucracy," said Rep. Gosar. "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. The taxpayers deserve accountability from their government and oversight on how it spends their money."
Rep. Gosar's five requests are outlined below:
- The language included in Rep. Gosar's first legislative effort simply prohibits Members of Congress from flying first-class using taxpayer funds. Members of Congress are servants of the people and should not be considered a privileged class. Luxury airfare accommodations utilizing taxpayer monies would seem inappropriate in any fiscal climate but at a time of soaring deficits and with a federal debt in excess of $17 trillion such expenditures are especially wasteful. If federal restrictions prohibit members of our military from traveling first-class, this same standard should also apply to Members of Congress. Click HERE to read the letter.
- Language in Rep. Gosar's second submission would prohibit wasteful spending from the Architect of the Capitol (AOC) on scrims that include life-size photographs of building facades. In the recent restoration of the Supreme Court, a superfluous full-size photograph was printed on a scrim in order to conceal scaffolding during the renovation process. Hard-working taxpayers paid $139,000 total for that scrim, with $37,000 alone going towards the printing of the full-size photographic image. Even more troubling is the fact that the AOC justified this lavish expenditure by asserting that it is "a practice that is used extensively in Europe." This is America and we should not be wasting taxpayer money in this manner. Click HERE to view the letter.
(The Supreme Court covered by a scrim on which a full-size photograph was printed to hide scaffolding; photo courtesy of posttrib.suntimes.com)
- Rep. Gosar's third request would prohibit funding for the Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s National Roadside Survey. The Highway Survey costs almost $8 million and does nothing to make our roads safer. Civil libertarians have raised legitimate concerns about the unconstitutionality of this program. Put simply, this "voluntary" survey looks like and acts like a police checkpoint and uses uniformed officers to pull cars over. Click HERE to view the letter.
- The language in Rep. Gosar's fourth effort would prohibit the use of funds for bonuses for senior executives at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). As of December 2013, almost 400,000 veterans were still trapped in the VA’s backlog of claims older than 125 days. Some have been waiting to get their claims processed for years. Even though the VA has failed to process claims in a timely manner, senior executives have continued to receive bonuses over the years. The VA should focus their efforts on services for our veterans and reducing the backlog, not rewarding under-performing bureaucrats. Rep. Gosar was joined in this effort by House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Chairman Jeff Miller. Click HERE to view the letter.
- The language in Rep. Gosar's final legislative request would limit both the number of conferences the VA may hold in a fiscal year as well as the amount the VA can pay for those conferences. According to disclosures on the VA's website, there were 60 conferences that cost more than $100,000 in Fiscal Year 2013. This cost the taxpayers a total of $28,821,378. VA funds should be used to reduce the claims backlog, not on unnecessary and wasteful conferences. Click HERE to view the letter.
Another critical part of eliminating waste, fraud and abuse is getting back to regular order in the budget process. Under regular order, each federal program’s effectiveness is reviewed annually through 12 different appropriation bills. 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 chose this year to fund the government through one massive, 1,582-page bill that legislators were given only 48 hours to read. This process did not allow for amendments and language that cut and prohibited reckless spending. The deadline for programmatic and language submissions for consideration in the fiscal year 2015 Appropriations bills for the Subcommittee on Legislative Branch Appropriations and the Subcommittee on Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies were both March 18, 2014.