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Skelton says bill passed last week will make government more efficient
Skelton says bill passed last week will make government more efficient

Congressman Ike Skelton
WASHINGTON, D.C. (June 21, 2010) — As I travel throughout the Fourth District, I often hear from folks who are rightly concerned about the lack of efficiency in the federal government. While most Americans agree that federal programs are needed, there is growing concern about the wasteful and inefficient practices of some federal agencies. That is why the House of Representatives, in a continuing effort to make each tax dollar go farther, last week passed legislation that would force federal agencies and programs to operate in a more accountable manner.

In the past year, Congress has made progress in cutting waste and abuse out of the federal budget. For example, we have changed the way the Defense Department buys equipment and weapons for our military — reforms that are projected to save taxpayers $100 billion over the next five years. These savings, which have been spent on bad or overpriced contracts in the past, can be used to cover the costs of other important defense priorities or to reduce the deficit.

To further this effort, the House of Representatives last week approved H.R. 2142, the Government Efficiency, Effectiveness, and Performance Improvement Act, a common sense bill that would apply best business practices to the management of the government.

Essentially, the bill would operate in two parts. It would first require federal agencies and departments to identify their goals and develop specific action plans to meet those goals. Second, the legislation would require the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office (GAO) to review the effectiveness of each agency every five years. These reviews would be made public and available to Congress for use in allotting funding in the federal budget. By forcing federal agencies to develop, execute, and evaluate specific action plans based on clearly identified goals, this legislation would identify wasteful and inefficient programming and allow Congress to shift budgeting priorities to the most efficient, valuable programs. In short, the bill would require the federal government to better audit itself, just as any business must do to remain successful in the marketplace.

The federal government provides a host of programs that are valuable to the American people and the American economy, but for years many agencies have operated without centralized planning or goal-oriented audits to determine their effectiveness. In light of today’s tough economic conditions, it is downright irresponsible for Congress not to ensure that taxpayers are getting the most bang for their buck. I supported the Government Efficiency, Effectiveness, and Performance Improvement Act because it would do just that. In the days ahead, I will continue working to make Washington operate more efficiently.

Congressman Ike Skelton (D-Mo.) serves as chairman of the House Armed Services Committee. Congressman Skelton’s website is at www.house.gov/skelton. Skelton can also be reached by Facebook at www.facebook.com/ikeskelton#!/ikeskelton and via Twitter at www.twitter.com/IkeSkelton.

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