Senator Tom Coburn Has Some Ideas For Sequestration

Wednesday, February 27th 2013, 10:41 pm
By: Tess Maune

Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn has come up with a way he says could help ease the pain of a sequester.

The Senator said, during a time of budget cuts, it's irresponsible to pay two or more people to do the same job, while laying off essential employees.

Senator Coburn's answer to sequestration is to consolidate duplicate programs and overlapping jobs.

He said there are more than 1,300 duplicate programs within the federal government, accounting for at least $364.5 billion in federal spending every year.

For instance, he said there are 103 similar science & technology programs inside the Pentagon alone.

"Consolidating those would save $1.7 billion over the next 10 years," Coburn said.

2/27/2013 Related Story: Oklahoma Senator Says Defense Department Could Make Less Hurtful Cuts

He also said the Department of Defense spends $700 million a year to research renewable energy, which is already being done by the Department of Energy.

Coburn said duplication means paying more for less, while sequestration requires doing more for less.

"If we give the administration the flexibility, we can easily swallow $85 billion a year in reductions," Coburn said.

In addition to the duplicate programs, Coburn said the feds are being wasteful, putting money into low-priority research.

He said, "$325,000 for robot squirrels—this was a grant that was issued to study what we already know, robotic squirrels and their interactions with rattlesnakes."

The Senator also cited money left untouched.

He said, at the end of 2012, the federal government had $2 trillion in unspent funds.

"You have $650 billion in un-obligated balances sitting on the federal government that we're not shuffling around to direct to the things that are most important," Coburn said.

In his closing statements, the Senator told Congress that the federal government doesn't know what it means to be efficient or effective.

Senator Coburn also mentioned McAlester Mayor Steve Harrison and his re-balancing of the city's $1.2 million shortfall.

Coburn said Harrison demonstrates the kind of leadership needed in a financial crisis.