Ernst introduces new bills to save taxpayer money

In a time of historic spending and seemingly unstoppable waste in Washington, fiscal conservatives might find ourselves getting discouraged. But there is some good news this week that shows that some lawmakers haven’t forgotten about spending and are looking for ways to trim the fat.

On Thursday, Senator Joni Ernst introduced legislation that would require “every project supported with federal funds [to] include a price tag with its cost to taxpayers.” Currently, anyone who receives federal money from the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and related agencies, is required to report both the dollar amount and percentage of their total budget that comes from taxpayers.

But as a new GAO report shows, many don’t. Ernst’s bill also includes new enforcement mechanisms to make sure proper reporting is done.

Last month, she also introduced the “The Billion Dollar Boondoggle Act,” which would require the federal government to provide an annual report to taxpayers listing every government-funded project that is $1 billion or more over budget or five years or more behind schedule. The GAO and others have long reported on waste and mismanagement that comes when projects run behind schedule or go over cost, and having regular accountability on when this happens would be a major step toward fixing the problem.

In a time when the challenges for fiscal conservatism have never been greater, we’re excited to see the possibility for steps in the right direction.