Measure to identify government waste won't save money, CBO says

A measure in the U.S. Senate to target wasteful federal programs won't save money for taxpayers, according to a report from the Congressional Budget Office.

Senate bill 666, the Identifying and Eliminating Wasteful Programs Act, would require the Office of Management and Budget to give guidance to federal agencies on identifying programs and activities that could be cut or consolidated and to make a list of those programs after the President submits the budget each year.

Specifically, each agency would have to list programs "that are unnecessary, defunct, or unnecessarily duplicative federal programs" or that another agency could administer more effectively, or could be consolidated with other programs.

A report from the Congressional Budget Office, the nonpartisan federal agency that produces cost estimates for proposed legislation, said the measure won't save money on its own.

"The federal government currently reviews different ways to reduce, eliminate, or manage the overlap and duplication within its agencies. Because of that ongoing activity, CBO expects that implementing the bill would not significantly affect federal spending over the 2023-2028 period," according to the report. "The budgetary effects of eliminating or consolidating programs will be estimated when the Congress considers legislation specifically related to the programs identified by each agency."

Over that same time period, the administrative costs of the measure would be less than $500,000, according to the report.

U.S. Sens. Maggie Hassan, D-NH, and Mike Braun, R-Ind., reintroduced the bill in March as a way to reduce wasteful spending in Washington.

"Cutting down on wasteful government spending is commonsense," Hassan said in a news release when she re-introduced the bill.

Braun said, "America’s sky-high national debt is our Achilles’ heel, and stopping wasteful spending is the first step to resolving this issue."

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