Fiscal conservatives haven’t had much to cheer on Capitol Hill in recent years. Even before the pandemic, Republican and Democratic leaders alike embraced a long-term path of deficit spending. The federal government’s debt is projected to grow faster than the nation’s economy, and there appears to be little political will to address the government’s structural fiscal challenges.
But there’s new hope that Congress will soon eliminate significant waste from the federal budget, thanks to a bipartisan effort by the House Appropriations Committee. Representatives Tim Ryan (D., Ohio) and Jaime Herrera Beutler (R., Wash.), the chairman and ranking member of the Legislative Branch Subcommittee, included report language for a 2022 spending bill requiring the Government Accountability Office to tell Congress how much federal agencies waste by ignoring the congressional watchdog’s recommendations.
As of this week, the GAO reports that more than 4,800 recommendations remain open, including 460 priority recommendations. If implemented, the GAO says, these reforms “can save large amounts of money, help Congress make decisions on major issues, and substantially improve or transform major government programs or agencies, among other benefits.”
How much potential savings are we talking about? The answer is in the ballpark of tens (if not hundreds) of billions of dollars annually...
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