Politics

Bipartisan Bill Discouraging ‘Use It Or Lose It’ Gov’t Spending Moves Through Senate

A bipartisan bill offering bonuses to federal employees who suggest ways to cut their agencies’ wasteful spending is making its way through the Senate.

The Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs approved the “Bonuses for Cost Cutters Act” in a 9-5 vote Wednesday. The bill was sponsored by Republican Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul and co-sponsored by 10 other Republicans and three Democrats.

The bill awards up to $10,000 to federal employees who identify potential surplus funds that might otherwise be spent at the end of the fiscal year to make sure Congress doesn’t decrease an agency’s appropriations. (RELATED: Top 10 Worst Ways Uncle Sam Wasted Your Money In 2015)

The legislation requires agency chief financial officers to use any recommendations that don’t harm the agency’s mission and send that money to the Department of Treasury. The bill then directs the Treasury Department to use that money towards paying down the budget deficit. In years without a deficit, the savings would go towards the country’s debt — which currently surpasses $19 trillion and continues to increase each day.

Sen. Mark Warner, a Virginia Democrat and one of the bill’s original co-sponsors, said he hopes the Senate moves soon to approve this “commonsense approach to government efficiency and federal spending.”

“Our bipartisan proposal encourages federal agencies to return unused funds instead of rushing to spend-down their appropriations at the end of every fiscal year,” Warner said in a statement. “When we empower federal employees to identify surplus funds instead of encouraging the ‘use it or lose it’ mentality, we are better stewards of taxpayers’ dollars.”

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