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MEMBER DIARY

Responding to the GSA Fiasco

Promoted from the diaries….

It’s time for wholesale change. The agency that’s supposed to make sure the federal government minimizes costs and runs efficiently is at the center of a fraud and waste scandal. When the General Services Administration burns taxpayers for $822,000 for what amounted to a Las Vegas party, the answer has to be more than outrage. What happened at the GSA is symptomatic of a culture of corruption and government waste in Washington. The problem is massive and costly, and demands a serious response.

Last year I introduced a bill called the Federal Realignment and Closure Commission Act (H.R. 2680). The FRACC Act would begin a fundamental reformation of the federal government by creating a commission to evaluate every federal program, department, and agency to identify which ones are actually functioning efficiently, and which ones are duplicative, outdated, wasteful, or irrelevant. It’s patterned after the Base Realignment and Closure Commission that the Defense Department has used to reorganize its base structure. What is even more unique about the FRACC act is that once the President grants approval to the Commission’s recommendations, the plan takes effect automatically unless Congress acts to disapprove of the plan in its entirety.

The FRACC Act has the potential to put an end to ridiculous and wasteful spending, save billions of dollars to bring down the deficit, and claw back the scope of a government that has grown far beyond its Constitutional boundaries. Imagine a Federal government which must prove that its rules and agencies are actually serving the American people purposefully, efficiently and constitutionally. It can happen, but it will take a majority in the Senate and a president in the White House who believe these are worthwhile goals.

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Congressman John Fleming, M.D., represents Louisiana’s 4th District. He is Co-Chair of the Congressional Values Action Team, Chairman of the Natural Resources Subcommittee on Fisheries, Wildlife, Oceans and Insular Affairs, and is a member of the House Armed Services Committee. He is a physician and small business owner.

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