With so much partisanship in Congress, we sometimes forget that there are places where Republicans and Democrats can find agreement. In 2013, both parties came together to prevent another government shutdown and put us on a long-term path towards deficit reduction.
That got me thinking – if folks can agree on that plan, surely we can get a coalition of members of Congress together to cut some of the most wasteful spending we have in the federal government. For that reason, I’m kick-starting a conversation about cutting wasteful spending in government, and I want you to be a part of it. We’re calling it “Barrow’s H.O.T.line” for "Helping Out the Taxpayers.” I've put together a list of some cuts I've found, but I want to hear from you too. There's so much waste in government, and I'm doing my part to eliminate it. You can send me an e-mail through my website or at firstname.lastname@example.org, send me a tweet using hashtag #BarrowHOTline, or send me a message on Facebook.
This is an important conversation, and as a follow up, I'm introducing legislation to make the spending cuts.
Some of the spending cuts I've found would:
- Limit or prohibit the purchase or lease of limousines. In 2012, the federal government vehicle fleet included approximately 253 limousines.
- Eliminate the “Hollywood Liaison Office.” The Department of Defense provides assistance to the entertainment industry to produce shows. Cutting this program saves up to $30 million.
- Cut the budget for former Speakers of the House. Upon retirement, former Speakers receive a budget that pays for staff allowances, use of the frank, office space and furnishings, and other official expenses.
- Cut the Federal Mascot Program. The Department of Homeland Security recently had three different mascots to promote their programs. Cutting the program, and limiting agencies to one mascot, would save $450,000.
- Put tighter restrictions on government travel. Currently, and in rare instances, government employees travel, at the taxpayer expense, in first or business class. Current practices also permit the use of live travel agents when booking flights, which incur fees. Legislation to restrict travel to coach class and prohibit the use of travel agents would save the federal government millions of dollars annually.
- Eliminate tax deductions for legal brothels (yes, they do exist). Eliminating that tax deduction would save $17.5 million.