Rep. John Sullivan, R-Tulsa, sent this letter today to President Barack Obama:
The Honorable Barack Obama
President of the United States of America
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20270
Dear President Obama:
I am writing in regard to your repeated call to combat waste fraud and abuse in government programs. The $825 billion stimulus bill currently before the House of Representatives serves as an overwhelming and timely reminder of the dangers and propensity for excessive, wasteful and duplicative government spending.
As you mentioned when you spoke at the House Republican Conference yesterday afternoon, there is undoubtedly strong bipartisan support for stimulus spending. However, we, with good governance in mind, cannot keep spending money we do not have on government programs we do not need. Throughout your campaign, your addresses to the nation as President Elect, in your inaugural speech and in yesterday’s meeting with the House Republican Conference, you made it clear that our budget and government spending as a whole must be addressed in totality, if not line by line, item by item. I agree with your statements on spending wholeheartedly and I am happy that you are reaching out to listen to different ideas.
It is imperative that we employ a robust mechanism to take outdated and inefficient programs off of the table. In the 110th Congress, I introduced H.R. 7071, the Federal Agency Program Realignment and Closure Act, a bill that creates a bipartisan commission to address government spending program by program. It is my intention to introduce this legislation again soon in the 111th Congress. The bill creates a 17 member bipartisan commission, comprised of both public and private sector officials, closely modeled after the proven Defense Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) process, which will provide an objective, non-partisan, and independent review and analysis of all federal agencies and programs. The commission would target agencies and programs that perform a duplicative function, would perform better at the state level or perform better in the private sector and create a list of recommended realignments and closures. The list is then given to Congress for a simple up or down vote and cannot be amended.
Mr. President, this is truly a forward-looking bill that has the mechanisms in place to take old government programs off of the table while applying all savings from these defunct programs to reduce our federal deficit. I attached a copy of this legislation for your review. Please let me know how you and I can work together to make this a reality and achieve our common goal of truly changing the status quo in Washington. Thank you for your attention to this matter, and I look forward to your response.
Member of Congress