By Erik Wasson - 03/17/11 08:25 PM EDT
At a time of budget battles between Republicans and Democrats, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) announced Thursday a new bipartisan, bicameral effort to reform government and reduce waste that he will be working on in conjunction with House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.).
The effort will focus on putting into practice a series of recent recommendations by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) which has identified dozens of areas of waste and duplication.
Cantor said that to facilitate committee work, a new process will be developed to come up with at least three concrete proposals in the short term.
“Partnering with Senator Coburn and Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer, these bipartisan, bicameral efforts will directly address the extremely concerning GAO report that identified billions of dollars in taxpayer money that is going to waste on duplicative and overlapping federal programs,” Cantor said.
“In the coming days we will be working to set up a process so that members from the various affected committees can work together to propose crosscutting solutions, focusing on at least three specific areas that we can address most quickly,” he said.
A Democrat aide said “Hoyer and Cantor have talked about what can be done to respond to the GAO report, and are still talking.”
In the Senate, Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) have both endorsed looking at the report as a starting point for saving hundreds of billions in spending.
The 34 areas identified by the GAO for reform are:
- The fragmented food safety system
- Realigning the military’s medical command
- Streamlining 31 agencies that provide for urgent soldier needs
- Lack of coordination by counter-improvised explosive devices
- Streamlining military intelligence gathering
- Avoiding duplicate purchasing of tactical wheeled vehicles
- Improve oversight of Defense’ prepositioning and stockpiling programs
- Defense business systems can be modernized
- The fragmented economic development programs
- Federal transportation programs that lack accountability
- Duplicative federal effort to provide water to the Mexico border region
- Conflicting federal vehicle energy goals
- Duplicative ethanol programs
- Government IT systems have divergent goals
- Duplicative federal data centers
- Duplicative contracting agencies
- Reviewing tax earmarks
- Modernizing health records by Defense and Veterans Affairs
- Controlling drug costs by Defense and Veterans Affairs
- Integrating public health information systems
- Integrating systems against biowarfare
- Duplication in securing the northern border
- Justice Department explosives investigations
- Transportation Security Agency’s assessments of commercial trucking
- Homeland Security can streamline information collecting with public transit agencies.
- FEMA can improve oversight of grants
- Duplicative development efforts in Afghanistan
- Overlapping arms control bureaus
- Administrative overlap on domestic food assistance
- Lack of coordination of federal homelessness programs
- Waste in transportation programs for the disadvantaged
- Duplication in job training programs
- Multiple programs ensuring teacher quality
- Fragmented financial literacy programs