In the words of Yogi Berra, “It’s déjà vu all over again.”
Each year, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) produces an annual report which suggests potential cost savings for the government and taxpayers. Many of these suggestions touch on the issue of duplication across agencies or departments.
For example, the Agriculture Department and the Food and Drug Administration (within the Department of Health and Human Services) both having responsibility over monitoring arsenic in rice. Or the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) both collecting similar financial information from tax filers.
However, there is no official government mechanism to check whether pending legislation would add to accidental duplication.
What the legislation does
The Duplication Scoring Act would require the GAO to review any bill which passes either a House or Senate committee, to make sure the bill wouldn’t replicate or duplicate any existing federal programs, spending, or responsibilities.
The information would be posted and continually updated publicly on the GAO’s website.
The Senate version was introduced on July 18 as bill number S. 2183, by Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY). The House version was introduced two months later on September 17 as bill number H.R. 4365, by Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC11).
What supporters say
Supporters argue the bill encourages more efficient government, to prevent taxpayer dollars from being used when redundant or repetitive.
“Our government loses hundreds of billions of dollars every year to wasteful or low-priority spending, and eliminating this waste has been one of my top priorities throughout my time in Congress,” Rep. Meadows said in a press release.
“There is no question we can find hundreds of billion dollars of waste in the government’s budget because of unnecessary, duplicative, or overlapping programs,” Rep. Meadows continued. “Having the Government Accountability Office review legislation will help expose the areas where Congress is creating duplicative or overlapping programs, helping get our spending and bloated government under control.”
“Our nation cannot continue to pile debt on top of debt, mortgaging our children’s future for wasteful spending today,” Sen. Paul said in a separate press release. “My bill will lead to real savings right away by cutting wasteful duplicate spending, which is something everyone should agree on.”
GovTrack Insider was unable to locate any explicit statements of opposition.
Odds of passage
The Senate version has attracted three bipartisan cosponsors: two Republicans and one Democrat. It passed the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee on July 24, and now awaits a potential vote in the full Senate. Considering its bipartisan cosponsorship and committee passage, passage by the full Senate is definitely possible.
The House version has not yet attracted any cosponsors, although it’s only been out for a week. It awaits a potential vote in either the House Oversight and Reform, Rules, or Budget Committee.