Tuesday, February 21, 2012

REED BEGINS INITIATIVE TO SHINE LIGHT ON WASTE OF TAXPAYER DOLLARS; First in series of targets is $120 million paid to deceased federal workers

Congressman Tom Reed today announced that he is beginning an initiative that will shine a light on many egregious examples of wasteful spending in Washington.  “We are redoubling our efforts to find savings and cut waste,” Reed said. “We are combing through budgets, reports, press reports – everything we can use to identify projects that exemplify waste – especially political waste. At a time when our national debt has soared above $15 trillion, we have to examine every dollar we spend.”

Reed cited his successful efforts last year in the House to remove more than $173 million of spending from projects such as a Tijuana, Mexico sewer project, subsidies for the Presidio, and 24 percent pay increases for certain federal workers as examples of how waste can be removed if people highlight it publicly.

The first area of waste Reed is targeting is the more than $100 million in benefits paid erroneously each year to deceased federal employees.  “Hardworking taxpayers sent $120 million to deceased workers in 2010,” Reed commented. “By its own estimate, the Office of Personnel Management has made more than $601 million in benefits payments to deceased federal employees during the last five years. That is not exactly proper stewardship of taxpayer money.”  

“With modern technology, there has to be a way that death records, Social Security databases and federal benefit rosters can be electronically cross-referenced with the U.S. Treasury so that checks aren’t even processed, let alone delivered, to those who are deceased,” Reed said.

Reed will begin regularly identifying and then championing solutions for waste and abuse of taxpayer money. “People need to be accountable and responsible,” Reed said. “We need to start holding feet to the fire so that there are incentives to save taxpayer dollars.” 

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