Washington (CNSNews.com) - The Chairman of the House Budget Committee thinks now is the time to reform the federal government because it is full of waste, abuse and duplication and other assorted problems that must be rooted out. Representative John Kasich (R-OH) vowed that the Budget Committee will renew its work in reforming government programs.
Chairman John Kasich (R-OH) told a Capitol Hill news conference Wednesday, "If you don't think we can cut two, three, four, five percent out of each one of these (government) agencies, departments and bureaus, you've been in Washington too long. You've got about a $1.6 trillion dollar yearly budget. We have 760 education programs spread across 39 agencies which cost more than 100 billion a year. Isn't it possible to save some money out of all of that?"
The former presidential candidate cited the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for having too many programs. "There are 340 programs in HUD," Kasich said, "and the GAO (General Accounting Office) estimates that for every $18 that's spent, at least one dollar is wasted. Couldn't you attempt to reform Housing and Urban Development?"
Kasich also criticized HUD for its inefficiency. "There is not a more confusing, complicated and convoluted operation in the government than HUD. That represents a greater long term potential for scandal than the S and L (Savings and Loan Crisis during the 1980's) crisis. We need to reform HUD. We need to make hard choices in HUD before they are forced upon us."
Salaries of federal government workers were another object of Kasich's wrath. "There's $53 billion dollars in non-defense salaries, " Kasich said. Although the congressman said he currently does not have a proposal on how to deal with worker salaries.
Kasich also accused President Clinton of "whining" about foreign aid. "We don't even know how many billions of dollars were ripped off in Russia. They ripped off a billion in Bosnia. And that's frankly the way Americans understand foreign aid. We give them money, they steal it, and then we give them more. Americans want us to reform these programs."
"We sent $10 billion dollars to Russia. You think that's a good investment?" asked Kasich. "You want to send some of your money over there. The fact is, we know that most of that money has been ripped off. "
Kasich sees no need for the government to raise taxes. "Raising taxes is the craziest thing I have heard around here (Washington) with revenues as high as they've been since World War II. The President is going to probably propose a tobacco tax increase to pay for all his programs."
The congressman, who is not running for reelection next year, predicts there eventually will be an across the board cut in government programs in order to save Social Security. He called for passage of a bill being introduced by Reps. Joe Barton (R-TX) and David McIntosh (R-IN) that will guarantee that Social Security surpluses are not used to finance other government spending.