I am really proud of the effort our Carolina Panthers put forth this year. I know this past Sunday was a tough loss, but I am already excited for next season as the future looks bright and I have no doubt we’ll come roaring back. As a man of my word, I did have to pay up my end of the friendly wager I made with Nancy Pelosi. That said, I can’t complain too much about spreading the deliciousness of Bojangles’ chicken, Lance crackers and Cheerwine.
This week, I voted for the House-passed funding measure for the entire federal government. When I ran for Congress, I repeatedly said that the first step we must take to reduce spending and scale back our bloated bureaucracy is to cut discretionary spending to pre-Obama levels. This bill accomplishes that goal, but we still have a lot more work to do. Although we reversed one of the most egregious problems with the military retiree’s COLA issue by eliminating the cuts to medically retired veterans, we owe a fix to all those who were affected by this problem and should not apply these cuts retroactively. That is basic fairness. I will continue to press for a solution and remain committed to taking care of our veterans.
During consideration of the omnibus spending bill, I introduced two amendments that would go a long way towards breaking Washington’s spending addiction. For far too long, the federal government has essentially run on auto-pilot towards a cliff of fiscal and economic disaster. Hard-earned tax dollars are spent frivolously with little-to-no accountability or oversight. Politicians talk all the time about shrinking the size of our bloated bureaucracy, but the American people are ready for action.
The Federal Sunset Act of 2014 creates a bipartisan commission to set an expiration date on each federal agency and review its policies and programs at least once every 12 years. The commission would submit a report to Congress and make recommendations as to which programs either need to be abolished or substantially reformed. Congress would then be required to draft legislation to carry out these recommendations otherwise the agency would expire. This common sense measure gives teeth to much-needed reforms in the federal budget process. By setting an expiration date for each federal agency, we force Congress to question the need for each program and consider ways to cut wasteful spending to help government operate more efficiently. Hardworking individuals and families don’t just spend their money carelessly without evaluating the costs first. It is time we demand the same level of responsibility from the federal government. This is something that the American people want, and that Washington desperately needs.
The other amendment I introduced is a perfect example of why this sunset provision is such a necessary leash for our bureaucracy. Last week, my colleague Rep. Jeff Duncan (SC-03) released a report examining the construction of the new Department of Homeland Security Headquarters at St. Elizabeth’s campus. The report was very troubling and unearthed an incredible amount of waste and inefficiencies in the planning and construction of this project. It was already absurd to think that we were going to spend over a billion dollars to complete this operation, but now DHS plans to spend another $3 billion and has pushed its projected completion date to 2026—10 years beyond the original schedule. To put things in perspective, building the tallest structure in the world, the Burj Khalifa, took engineers only six years and $1.5 billion to complete. That’s one-third of the total time and cost of the new DHS Headquarters.
My amendment would halt further funding for the construction of this facility to prevent excessive waste of taxpayer dollars until DHS and the General Services Administration can come back with a better plan.
This is a common sense proposal and I am committed to stopping this wasteful exercise. However, I am very confident that something like this would never happen if we had a Sunset Commission in place to hold Congress and the administration accountable for its reckless spending.