Mr. President, Spending Is Clearly the Problem in Washington
WASHINGTON, D.C. – House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) today released the following statement outlining numerous common-sense alternatives that House Republicans have put forward to responsibly replace the President’s sequester:
“President Obama is warning of the grave effects of the sequester he proposed in 2011. House Republicans agree this is not the best way to cut spending, which is why I sponsored and the House twice passed bills that responsibly replace the arbitrary, across-the-board cuts with common sense cuts and reforms that don’t threaten public safety, national security or our economy. During the past 11 months, neither President Obama nor the Democratic controlled Senate offered any serious alternative. Rather than offer serious spending cuts to replace the sequester, President Obama offers more of the same politics and argues for more tax revenue. This won’t help middle class families or grow our economy.
The President would put public safety and national security at risk, rather than:
- Reduce Improper Payments: In 2011, by its own estimates, the federal government made $115 billion in improper payments. These are instances where people receive benefits or payments they are not entitled to receive or for which proper documentation hasn’t been provided.
- Reduce Duplication: According to the non-partisan Government Accountability Office, the federal government administers 94 federal initiatives to foster green building; 15 significant financial literacy programs across 13 agencies; 173 STEM education programs across 13 agencies; and 47 job-training programs. Consolidating these programs would improve their effectiveness and save taxpayers billions of dollars.
- Reduce Government Waste: The federal government wastes billions of taxpayer dollars every year, including:
- Free Cell Phones: This program cost $2.2 billion in 2013 alone.
- ObamaCare Promotion: The federal government spent $51.6 million last year promoting ObamaCare and paying public relations firms.
- IRS TV Studio: The IRS has a full-service TV production studio which costs $4 million annually to operate.
- Vacation Getaways: The 183 Conferences paid for by federal agencies over the last several years cost taxpayers more per attendee than the infamous October 2010 GSA conference in Las Vegas, NV.
- Property Maintenance: The federal government spent $1.7 billionin 2010 to maintain property that is not in use or underutilized.
- EPA Grants to Foreign Countries: The EPA has given more than$100 million in grants to foreign countries over the last ten years.
- Pay to Play Video Games: The National Science Foundation spent $1.2 million paying seniors to play “World of Warcraft” to study the impact it had on their brain.
- Smoke Up! The Department of Veterans Affairs spent $47,000 on a cigarette smoking machine that holds up to 40 cigarettes at a time.
The President would raise your taxes for the second time in eight weeks, rather than consider these bipartisan alternatives:
- Reduce Medicaid Loopholes: By reforming the Medicaid provider tax, we could save at least $9.8 billion.
- Increase Medicare Means Testing for Upper-Income Earners: By asking the upper-income to pay more for Medicare, we could save approximately $20 billion.
- Make Federal Retirement Match the Private Sector: By updating the federal employee retirement system to more closely track with the private sector, we could save approximately $21 billion.
- Require the Return of Overpayments: By requiring that individuals return overpayments for exchange subsidies in ObamaCare, we could save approximately $44 billion.
- Eliminate Slush Funds: By eliminating the Public Health Slush Fund in ObamaCare, which Democrats have supported reducing, we could save approximately $10 billion.
- Require Food Stamp Eligibility: While ensuring those who need food stamp support get it, we can save approximately $26 billion by simply requiring recipients prove eligibility.
As Senator Everett Dirksen once reportedly said, ‘A billion here, a billion there, pretty soon, you’re talking real money,’ or as President Obama once told me, ‘There’s nothing too crazy in here.’ So rather than calling for tax hikes, again, or cut back any needed government services, the President and Senate Democrats should get to work and embrace some or all of these sensible spending cuts and find common ground. Spending is clearly the problem in Washington.”