U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner (D-Va.) and Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) introduced bipartisan legislation that would eliminate or consolidate more than 300 reports produced by more than two-dozen federal agencies that have been found to be unnecessary, duplicative or outdated.
Sen. Warner, who serves as Chairman of the Senate Budget Committee’s Government Performance Task Force, and Sen. Ayotte, who serves as Ranking Member, introduced theGovernment Reports Elimination Act of 2014, which will help save staff time and other resources by eliminating unnecessary reports.
For example, U.S. Customs and Border Protection is required by law to produce an annual report on violations of the Dog and Cat Fur Protection Act of 2000 for distribution to 14 members of Congress. However, there has been just one violation of the Dog and Cat Fur Protection Act recorded in the past five years. In addition, nearly 100 employees of the Social Security Administration spend an estimated 95 days each year producing a report on the agency’s printing activities. However, there is no evidence of any action, or reaction, from members of Congress designated to receive the report.
“All too frequently Congress adds more reporting requirements without checking to see if they overlap with existing ones. If these unnecessary but required reports are wasting staff time and resources and are sitting on a shelf collecting dust, then it’s long past time for them to be eliminated or consolidated,” Sen. Warner said. “In the GPRA Modernization Act, we asked federal agencies to identify duplicative reporting and our legislation reflects theirrecommendations. Eliminating a handful of reports won’t solve our fiscal challenges, but we should take every opportunity to ensure every taxpayer dollar is spent wisely. I will continue to work with Sen. Ayotte and our other Task Force members on identifying other ways to create a more effective and efficient government.”
“We need to streamline and modernize government wherever possible,” Sen. Ayotte said. “This bipartisan legislation is part of my ongoing effort to protect taxpayers by eliminating duplication and waste in federal programs and making government more efficient. I will continue to work with Senator Warner and with our Task Force to find places to save and make government smaller and smarter.”
Sen. Warner’s Government Performance and Results Modernization Act of 2010 required federal agencies to identify outdated or duplicative congressionally mandated reports that could be consolidated or eliminated to direct agency resources towards more productive activities. The Government Reports Elimination Act includes 321 reports from 29 federal agencies submitted to Congress by the Office of Management and Budget. A bipartisan companion bill is being introduced in the House by Reps. Darrell Issa (R-CA-49) and Gerry Connolly (D-VA-11).
As governor of Virginia from 2002 to 2006, Sen. Warner worked in a bipartisan way to implement businesslike reforms that made state government more effective and affordable, resulting in Virginia’s designation as the nation’s best managed state in the Pew Charitable Trust’s independent 2005 Government Performance Project.
In the Senate, Sen. Warner has also introduced the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act, which would improve and expand federal fiscal accountability by requiring more transparent reporting of every dollar spent by the federal government. He also is a lead sponsor of the Government Customer Service Improvement Act, which aims to make the taxpayer’s interaction with federal agencies more efficient and customer-friendly.