Coburn: GAO report finds 'mother lode of government waste'

A Government Accountability Office report has found 34 major areas of wasteful spending that one senator says could help save the federal goverment $100 billion or more.

Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) on Tuesday hailed the report, which he had demanded as the price for raising the nation’s debt ceiling last year.

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He estimated that the report has found ways to save at least $100 billion.

“This report also shows we could save taxpayers hundreds of billions of dollars every year without cutting services. And, in many cases, smart consolidations will improve service. GAO has identified a mother lode of government waste and duplication that should keep Congress busy for the rest of the year,” Coburn said.

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.)’s office seized on the report to highlight House efforts to cut spending this year.

“This morning, a new GAO report came out that details the billions of taxpayer dollars that are wasted on duplicative and overlapping government programs. More disturbing is the fact that a similar report was released in 2001 showing hundreds of billions in egregious waste and nothing was done to address it. It has to stop,” Brian Patrick in Cantor’s office said in an e-mail.

“That is why House Republicans are hard at work cutting spending and getting our fiscal house in order - we need to prevent taxpayer dollars from being wasted and put Washington on a budget so we begin to live within our means and get people back to work,” he added.

The 34 areas identified by the GAO are:

1.    The fragmented food safety system
2.    Realigning the military’s medical command
3.    Streamlining 31 agencies that provide for urgent soldier needs
4.    Lack of coordination by counter-improvised explosive devices
5.    Streamlining military intelligence gathering
6.    Avoiding duplicate purchasing of tactical wheeled vehicles
7.    Improve oversight of Defense’ prepositioning and stockpiling programs
8.    Defense business systems can be modernized
9.    The fragmented economic development programs
10.    Federal transportation programs that lack accountability
11.    Duplicative federal effort to provide water to the Mexico border region
12.    Conflicting federal vehicle energy goals
13.    Duplicative ethanol programs
14.    Government IT systems have divergent goals
15.    Duplicative federal data centers
16.    Duplicative contracting agencies
17.    Reviewing tax earmarks
18.    Modernizing health records by Defense and Veterans Affairs
19.    Controlling drug costs by Defense and Veterans Affairs
20.    Integrating public health information systems
21.    Integrating systems against biowarfare
22.    Duplication in securing the northern border
23.    Justice Department explosives investigations
24.    Transportation Security Agency’s assessments of commercial trucking
25.    Homeland Security can streamline information collecting with public transit agencies.
26.    FEMA can improve oversight of grants
27.    Duplicative development efforts in Afghanistan
28.    Overlapping arms control bureaus
29.    Administrative overlap on domestic food assistance
30.    Lack of coordination of federal homelessness programs
31.    Waste in transportation programs for the disadvantaged
32.    Duplication in job training programs
33.    Multiple programs ensuring teacher quality
34.    Fragmented financial literacy programs