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Bustos unveils government waste reduction bill

STERLING –U.S. Rep. Cheri Bustos hopes her first piece of legislation will make government more efficient by eliminating waste and overlapping resources.

Bustos, D-East Moline, introduced the Government Waste Reduction Act on Wednesday. The bill is intended to put into practice the recommendations from two reports by the Government Accountability Office.

In a conference call Wednesday, Bustos said the recommendations would “reduce duplication of government, save taxpayer money, enhance revenue, and very importantly, root out waste in government.”

The bill would establish an independent, 15-member government waste reduction board: six representatives and six senators, three Democrats and three Republicans each; and three members chosen by the administration.

The board would develop legislative proposals that “implement the Government Accountability recommendations and send them to Congress,” Bustos said.

Congress then would vote up or down on the proposal, Bustos said.

The proposals would not cut benefits for veterans, members of the Armed Forces or seniors, she said. That includes Medicare and Social Security.

For example, Bustos noted the federal government now has 47 job training programs, 44 of which overlap.

Other examples of overlap Bustos cited are programs in the Department of Transportation. The report describes surface transportation as “fragmented, lacking clear goals and not accountable for results.”

She said more than 100 programs in five agencies within the department are involved in surface transportation programs.

The idea is to “smartly consolidate” programs, she said.

Bustos is working to find co-sponsors.

“We absolutely will be reaching out to Republican members,” she said.

Bustos represents the 17th Congressional District, which includes all of Whiteside County.

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