A simple solution could yield impressive savings

By Sen. Mike Enzi and Rep. Kyrsten Sinema

This op-ed was published on The Hill on January 26, 2016

With Congress gridlocked by partisan disagreements, including over how to reduce our debt and deficit, we need to focus on common-sense solutions and find ways to come together to fix the budget issues we currently face.

That’s why we introduced legislation in both the House and in the Senate, with Rep. Robert Pittenger (R-N.C.) and Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), that both parties can get behind. The Unified Savings and Accountability Act, or USA Act, offers simple budget fixes that could save the U.S. government at least $57 billion.

That’s money that could fund or offset legislation to rebuild our highways or repeal the medical device tax or help reduce the deficit.

The bill implements a number of suggestions from the Government Accountability Office’s (GAO) annual reports to reduce overlap and duplication and maximize government savings.

These include sensible measures such as promoting more-effective federal contract competition, requiring that the default delivery method of congressional documents be electronic instead of paper and improving the ability of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to find and eliminate fraud. Right now, the United States government throws away money because of unaddressed inefficiencies. We must be better stewards of taxpayer dollars and implement good government practices that support hardworking Americans.

Another provision included in the USA Act is currency modernization. Currency modernization — switching from the dollar bill to the dollar coin — could save American taxpayers $4.4 billion over 30 years, with estimates going up to $13.8 billion.

The USA Act is a simple bill that will accomplish a great deal. By implementing some of the GAO’s common-sense recommendations, we can find significant budget savings through better management, oversight and modernization. This bipartisan legislation will result in a better, more efficient government for all Americans.

We came together in a bipartisan coalition on this legislation because $57 billion in common-sense savings is something that everyone can, and should, get behind. We were proud to present the legislation at the Bipartisan Policy Center’s event on cutting costs and streamlining government.

We ask our colleagues in Congress and the public to consider the USA Act and join us in support of the savings that reduce fragmentation, overlap and duplication. This bill is a sensible step toward good government and better budgeting practices, which is a step in the right direction.

Enzi is Wyoming’s senior senator, serving since 1997. He is chairman of the Budget Committee and also sits on the Finance; the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs; the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions; and the Small Business and Entrepreneurship committees. Sinema has represented Arizona’s 9th Congressional District since 2013. She sits on the Financial Services Committee.

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