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Continue, Consolidate, or Abolish

  • Federal Agencies
Have you ever looked at a recurring charge on your credit card statement and thought, “I’m not using this anymore; it’s time to cancel.” Or have you ever received a renewal invoice in the mail for a service you no longer use? It usually ends up in the trash, right?
Most of us don’t continue to pay for things we no longer need. However, that mentality is nowhere to be found inside our bloated federal government, especially when it comes to the hundreds & hundreds of agencies, departments, bureaus, etc.
As the federal government continues to grow – and there’s no sign of that slowing down anytime soon – there’s simply no effective way to identify and deal with those agencies whose functions are either (A) no longer necessary, (B) duplicated elsewhere within the federal government, or (C) just horribly inefficient and wasteful. Having served on both the Budget Committee and the Oversight Committee, I see this firsthand almost every day.
So last week, I co-sponsored a new bill in the House to help fix this problem. It’s called the “Federal Agency Sunset Commission Act.” (H.R. 2199)
This legislation will force an automatic – and recurring -- review of every federal agency, department, and bureau. Each review will cover a wide variety of factors, and will produce a recommendation to either continue, consolidate, or abolish (i.e. sunset) that agency. Congress would then vote to either accept or reject the recommendation for each agency.
Obviously, many of these agencies will easily warrant a “continue” recommendation, especially when it comes to things like national defense, VA, SSA, and others. But if you ask 10 people in Congress how many federal agencies and departments there are, you will almost certainly get 10 different answers.
Nobody has a real handle on the size and scope of the federal government, which is why a regular and recurring review of these agencies is desperately needed.