Does your agency need a duplication scorecard? We talk to the Congressman behind a new bill

Duplication — multiple organizations doing the same thing.

There is a question as to whether, in this age of austerity, the government can afford to have multiple programs doing the same thing and some argue that duplication makes it more difficult to assess if programs are actually working.

Yet we also know that most of these programs don’t come from federal agencies, but they come from Capitol Hill.

A new bill would require a “duplication score” for all legislation. It would require the Congressional Research Service assess if new programs were duplicative.

One of the people behind that bill is Rep. James Lankford — he is a Republican from Oklahoma. He told Chris Dorobek on the
 DorobekINSIDER program why the legislation is necessary.

Key GAO findings and examples of duplication, mismanagement and waste in 2012:

  • Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Education. There are 209 federal STEM education programs, administered by 13 different federal agencies, costing taxpayers more than $3 billion annually.
  • Financial Literacy. There are 56 financial literacy programs across 20 federal agencies, according to a March 2011 survey of federal agencies. However, a subsequent analysis by GAO found that there were 15 financial literacy programs across 13 federal agencies, costing taxpayers more than $30 million annually, if a narrower definition of financial literacy is used.
  • Department of Justice Grants. Since 2005, Congress has spent $30 billion in overlapping Department of Justice grants for crime prevention police and victims services from more than 200 DOJ grant programs, and $3.9 billion in grants just in 2010.
  • Housing Assistance. In 2010, the government spent roughly $170 billion on housing related programs, of which $132 billion was forgone revenue from tax expenditures related to housing. GAO found “twenty different entities that administer 160 programs, tax expenditures, and other tools, that support homeowners and renters.” GAO also found “39 programs, tax expenditures, and other tools provide assistance for buying, selling or financing a home,” and eight programs and tax expenditures provide assistance for rental property owners.”
  • Support to Private Sector on Green Buildings. There are 94 federal initiatives to encourage “green building” in the private sector, all run by 11 different federal agencies.
  • Diesel Emissions. There are 14 programs and three tax expenditures that sole or joint purpose is to reduce diesel emissions. Thirteen of the programs provide grants and one is a loan program. GAO also identified three tax expenditures that provide incentives for owners and operators of diesel engines and vehicles.
  • Overseas Defense Posture. Approximately 400,000 American soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines are stationed overseas on a given day. However at least half of these military service members are in nations other than Iraq and Afghanistan. GAO recommends re-examining our overseas deployments to nations such as South Korea and Japan as well as territories such as Guam.

Leave a Comment

One Comment

Leave a Reply

Mark Forman

Given the Administration’s desire to get rid of duplication, do you think they will embrace Lankford’s bill? In fact, why don’t they do this as part of the FY2014 budget process?