Today, Congressman Cloud (TX-27) and Senator Rick Scott (R-FL) introduced a bill to help rein in Washington’s uncontrolled spending. With the federal government already $28 trillion in debt and spending out of control, the Federal Agency Sunset Commission Act offers a commonsense solution to monitor the effectiveness of government agencies and prevent wasteful inefficiencies and duplicative programming.
One of the reasons Washington continues to mortgage the future of America is the massive size and scope of the federal government that remains unchecked. Many programs are stood up to address an urgent issue but later outlive their usefulness. Others launch with the best of intentions but do not accomplish desired outcomes. Many agencies and programs are no longer authorized but continue to receive money. The State Department, for example, has not been reauthorized since 2003. In total, the Congressional Budget Office identified over 1,000 individual line items in the federal budget that are not currently authorized by Congress.
Every year, the non-partisan Government Accountability Office (GAO) issues a report to reduce fragmentation, overlap, and duplication throughout the federal government. In the 2020 report, GAO identified 168 new actions and 467 unaddressed recommendations that could save the taxpayers tens of billions of dollars. In the recently released 2021 report, GAO wrote that congressional oversight of the GAO High Risk List has led to the federal government saving more than $575 billion over the past 15 years, including approximately $225 billion since 2019. This indicates that regular review and congressional action saves taxpayer dollars.
The Federal Agency Sunset Commission Act would create a bipartisan Sunset Commission that would begin by creating a schedule for review and sunset that would be ratified by Congress. Each year, the Commission would provide recommendations on whether agencies scheduled for review should be consolidated, continued, or abolished. Congress would take an up or down vote on the Commission’s recommendation. If Congress is unable to act, the agency would automatically be abolished.
Congressman Cloud first introduced this legislation in the 116th Congress and will work to gain support for it with the goal of passing it into law during this Congress.
“The federal government is so big that no one can even say with certainty how many federal agencies exist,” said Congressman Cloud. “While no single $100 million or even $1 billion program is responsible for our $28 trillion national debt, they all quickly add up. Federal agencies should be subject to regular oversight and review, so we can identify which agency is doing the spending and how effective that agency is. Hardworking American taxpayers have to make difficult decisions every day to make ends meet and so should Congress. It is vital we restore trust with the American people in how Congress spends taxpayer dollars. I thank Senator Rick Scott for supporting this effort in the Senate.”
Senator Rick Scott said, “Our nation is on track to reach $30 trillion in debt, and reckless, unaccountable spending by politicians in Washington have put us on a path of economic self-destruction. We have to take action. One way we can actually protect the American taxpayer is by routinely evaluating the usefulness of our government agencies and identifying their inefficiencies. I did it as Governor of Florida, and it saved Florida taxpayers millions of dollars. The Federal Agency Sunset Commission Act will help eliminate waste and redundancies throughout the federal government, and make Washington work better for American families.”
This bill was based on Sunset Commissions in Texas and Florida. Texas’ Sunset Commission has led to 41 abolished agencies, 51 consolidated agencies, and an estimated positive fiscal impact of $1 billion, returning $19 for every $1 spent on Sunset.
Eight additional Members of Congress joined the bill as original cosponsors, including Representatives Ralph Norman (SC-05), Scott Perry (PA-10), Lance Gooden (TX-05), and Yvette Herrell (NM-02) and Senators Joni Ernst (R-IA), Mike Braun (R-IN), Mike Crapo (R-ID), and Thom Tillis (R-NC). The bill is also supported by the National Taxpayers Union and Heritage Action for America.
Please find the bill text here.