Government Efficiency Act shot down on House floor

What if we could significantly cut down on government waste? On all the pork barrel spending that goes on in Congress? But what if the price for such accountability was a new position that being decried by critics as possibly unconstitutional? Enter the Government Efficiency Act, a proposed congressional bill that would create new independent review commissions to evaluate whether certain federal programs should be continued, reorganized or abolished. Shot down on the House floor on Thursday, sponsors of the bill said that Congress is just plain too busy to have such commissions of it’s own. Critics said that the bill was tantamount to outsourcing Congress’s constitutional oversight role.

The bill’s chief sponsor, Rep. Todd Tiahrt (R-KA), said that simple politics prevents Congress from making meaningful cuts in spending. “Every government program impacts someone else’s constituents,” he said. “A commission recommendation on government efficiency would go through the regular committee process on an expedited schedule. Committees could amend the recommendation before it goes to the full body for a mandatory vote.”
According to the Wichita Eagle, the proposed law would “let either Congress or the president create federal commissions to evaluate specific federal programs and make recommendations for how they could be changed or abolished to reduce duplication or wasteful spending.”

However, critics saw the proposed bill in a far less favorable light. Representative Tom Lantos (D-CA), who currently serves on the Government Reform Committee with Tiahrt, said that the outsourcing that the bill call for was unnecessary. “A schedule that has us out of Washington so much of time is not efficient or economical,” he said at a hearing last week. “But… a potentially unconstitutional delegation of our jobs is not necessary to fix this inefficiency.”

Ultimately, the critics won out as Republicans pulled the bill from the floor. “We didn’t have the votes we needed,” the spokesman for Tiahrt, Chuck Knapp, told the Wichita Eagle. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi says that the bill failed because Republicans failed to take the bill too seriously, and says that the Democrats plan to make their own announcements on how to reduce government waste. “I’m all for looking at waste, fraud and abuse,” she said.

While the Democrats plot their counter-bill, Tiahrt isn’t done, yet. If he can get it on the calendar, he plans to push the bill for a House vote again in September.

Sources: ABC’s The Blotter, Wichita Eagle, Supporters of bill, Detractors of bill

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One Response to “Government Efficiency Act shot down on House floor”

  1. Mark Says:

    Better idea – scrap all the laws, save the Constitution. Impeach all three branches and make sure whoever gets in has never held office before. Then, for every new spending law passed, everybody in the federal government gets a pay cut.

    Well, it’s an idea, anyway.

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