A Bipartisan Plan to SAVE

Recently, a bipartisan duo in the House -- Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-FL) and Rep. David Joyce (R-OH) -- introduced the SAVE Act, a bill to reduce federal government spending through reforms that would make the government more efficient. The bill includes many policies, including recommendations from the Government Accountability Office's reports on overlap or duplication in government, to reduce unnecessary spending. The legislation has garnered a bipartisan group of 11 additional co-sponsors as well, so it appears to have some traction in the House and rightfully so.

Specifically, the bill includes (claimed savings in parentheses):

  • Promoting bulk buying across agencies to get lower prices on purchases ($50 billion)
  • Utilizing best practices in agency contracting to reduce noncompetitive contracts and expenses ($80 billion)
  • Consolidating data centers across federal agencies ($10 billion)
  • Improving property management to cut down on unused or underutilized federal government spaces ($10 billion)
  • Improving the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services' ability to detect and eliminate fraud in its respective programs ($33 billion)
  • Rescinding unused Department of Energy loan authority for advanced technology vehicle manufacturers ($4.2 billion)
  • Improving oversight and eliminating duplication of information technology investments by federal agencies ($4.4 billion)
  • Eliminating a duplicative catfish inspection program in the Department of Agriculture ($137 million)
  • Identifying and eliminating duplicative programs related to reducing emissions from diesel engines ($500 million)
  • Aligning the Department of Agriculture's import fees with inspection costs ($3.3 billion)
  • Allowing the Department of Energy to sell excess depleted uranium (variable)

As a whole, the bill would save up to $200 billion over ten years while reducing existing duplication and overlap across the federal budget. The polices in the bill would require better coordination among agencies to ensure that they work together to reduce costs where possible, so not only does this proposal include significant savings, but could also improve the performance of the affected federal agencies.

Just as we highlighted last week, bipartisan efforts to make the federal government more efficient are welcome alongside efforts to make significant reforms to the budget. These lawmakers and their bipartisan co-sponsors should be praised for embracing the GAO's recommendations to ensure that taxpayers' money is spent more wisely. We will not be able to solve our budget problems solely from eliminating waste, fraud, and abuse, but finding $200 billion in savings through these commonsense reforms is a noteworthy effort and an excellent place to start.