Blue Dog Democrats, in a coalition statement, threw their weight behind a Republican House bill to prevent duplicative and overlapping government programs.
Rep. Sue Myrick (R-N.C.) introduced in April the resolution that would amend House rules to require Congressional Research Service reporting on every bill or resolution that would create any new Federal program, office, or initiative to determine if it overlaps with those already existing.
A “duplication score” would be compiled for all legislation before consideration in Congress.
Last year, the Government Accountability Office identified in a report hundreds of programs with overlapping functions and targeted 81 areas to reduce or eliminate duplication. A year later, only four of the areas had been fully resolved.
The Blue Dogs noted as an example 15 financial literacy programs administered by 13 different federal agencies costing taxpayers more than $30 million annually. There are also 94 federal initiatives to encourage “green building” in the private sector, all run by 11 different federal agencies.
“Our government has too many redundant federal programs, and members of the Blue Dog Coalition know that it’s time to cut the fat. This is a good step toward Congress tightening its belt,” said Rep. Jim Cooper (D-Tenn.), co-chairman of the Blue Dog Task Force on Fiscal Responsibility, who introduced the legislation along with Myrick and Rep. James Lankford (R-Okla.).
Sens. Tom Coburn, (R-Okla.) and Mark Udall (D-Colo.) have introduced similar legislation in the Senate.
In the Blue Dogs’ joint statement, the coalition members stressed, with an underline for emphasis, that the bill “is just the latest example of Blue Dogs’ efforts to reach across the aisle, work with Republicans and try to pass bipartisan legislation that makes government better respect taxpayer dollars. So far this Congress, the Blue Dog Coalition has endorsed ten bills with both Democratic and Republican support that are focused on fiscal responsibility, fiscal accountability or economic growth.”