Note: To access a video clip of Sen. Cornyn introducing his amendment on the Senate floor, click here.
CONTACT: Kevin McLaughlin, (202) 224-0704
During National Sunshine Week, Sen. Cornyn Introduces Amendment To Create Federal Sunset Commission Based On Texas Model
“More than ever, restraint and a healthy dose of sunshine to shed light on how taxpayer money is spent is needed”
WASHINGTON—U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, a member of the Senate Budget Committee, today offered an amendment to the Small Business Reauthorization Act, S. 493, that would create a Federal Sunset Commission modeled after the Texas commission, which examines state programs to identify wasteful spending and duplicative programs. The efforts of the Texas Sunset Advisory Commission, created in 1977, have led to the elimination of dozens of agencies that have outlived their usefulness and have saved Texas taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars.
Sen. Cornyn’s amendment comes after the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office (GAO) recently released a revealing report on overlapping and duplicative federal spending. Among its findings, the GAO identified 82 federal programs to improve teacher quality; 80 to help disadvantaged people with transportation; 47 for job training and employment; and 56 to help people understand finances. The report highlighted areas where different departments and agencies could be streamlining and coordinating to save billions in taxpayer money.
“Never has the need for a Federal Sunset Commission been more apparent with a recent non-partisan GAO report revealing that there are literally hundreds, if not thousands, of duplicative federal programs that waste hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars every year.
“Three years ago I offered an amendment to create a sunset commission when the deficit was almost $500 billion and spending made up about 20 percent of the economy. This year, the deficit is expected to be $1.6 trillion, while spending is now 25 percent of the economy. More than ever, restraint and a healthy dose of sunshine to shed light on how taxpayer money is spent is needed.
“My amendment would establish a bipartisan Federal Sunset Commission, tasked with reviewing federal programs, determining their efficiency, and making recommendations on whether they need reform or should be eliminated altogether. I hope my colleagues will heed the call of the American people for Congress to get its fiscal house in order and pass my amendment as an important first step in that process.”
Sen. Cornyn’s amendment would create an eight-member bipartisan commission, including four U.S. Senators and four U.S. Representatives, who will examine the effectiveness and efficiency of federal programs and agencies. The commission would make recommendations on whether these programs require reform or should be eliminated all together. The President’s own Fiscal Commission recently highlighted the Texas sunset experience as a way to save federal taxpayers’ money: http://www.fiscalcommission.gov/sites/fiscalcommission.gov/files/documents/Illustrative_List_11.10.2010.pdf.
Sen. Cornyn serves on the Finance, Judiciary, Armed Services, and Budget Committees. He serves as the top Republican on the Judiciary Committee’s Immigration, Refugees and Border Security subcommittee. He served previously as Texas Attorney General, Texas Supreme Court Justice, and Bexar County District Judge.