New report on federal overlap cites three agencies inspecting catfish

Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn, whose authored bill requiring audits of duplication in federal government, says ignoring the problem is “immoral.”
by Chris Casteel Published: April 10, 2013

The auditors found 76 drug treatment or prevention programs spread across 15 agencies, costing $4.5 billion in the 2012 fiscal year.

Renewable energy

On renewable energy, an area that grew significantly after President Barack Obama took office in 2009, the GAO found seven separate wind energy initiatives providing duplicative financial support for the same project. In some cases, the auditors found, project developers would use programs from the Treasury Department and combine that aid with loans or grants from the Energy and Agriculture departments.

The report recommends that Congress change a law that mandates the Agriculture Department inspect catfish since it will duplicate the work already conducted by the Food and Drug Administration and by the National Marine Fisheries Service.

Since its first report on duplication in 2011, the GAO has been tracking the government's response.

According to Coburn's office, “Washington has made very minimal headway in reducing unnecessary duplication, despite the abundance of information, examples, and recommendations from GAO.”

Coburn said ignoring the problem was immoral.

“While millions of Americans have been doing more with less, the federal government continues to do less with more,” he said.

$300B in overlap

The senator estimated that the GAO had identified $300 billion in overlap in its three reports combined.

“Yet, instead of preventing furloughs, reopening air traffic control towers and restoring public access to White House, Congress and the administration continue to defend billions of dollars in duplicative programs that are little more than monuments to the good intentions of career politicians in Washington,” Coburn said.

by Chris Casteel
Washington Bureau
Chris Casteel began working for The Oklahoman's Norman bureau in 1982 while a student at the University of Oklahoma. After covering the police beat, federal courts and the state Legislature in Oklahoma City, he moved to Washington in 1990, where...
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