Sen. Hatch: There Are ‘A Number’ of Federal Programs ‘We Could Do Without’

February 1, 2010 - 9:05 PM

Sen. Orrin Hatch (R.-Utah) (Congressional photo)

(CNSNews.com) - Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) told CNSNews.com that there are “a number” of federal programs in existence for “no good reason” that the United States could “do without” to help trim the federal budget, which, for 2010, is estimated to have a $1.4 trillion deficit.
 
In an interview about the deficit and federal spending at the U.S. Capitol last week, CNSNews.com asked Hatch, “Is there a federal agency that you think should be closed?”
 
Hatch said, “Give me a chance. I’ll show you a number of them that I think we could do without.”
 
“I’m not saying that there isn’t some good in all of them,” said Hatch. “Yeah, we could do without a number of  federal agencies and, or at least federal programs all over the country, and if we narrowed it down to the ones that really work, the ones that really benefit our American citizens, it would be a heck of a lot less than we have today.”
 

 
Last week, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) reported that the current budget trend will add a projected $6 trillion total to the national debt over the next 10 years. In light of the report’s findings, Senator Hatch was asked if there were any federal agencies he would like to see closed to help balance the budget.
 
Hatch said the federal government is trying to get into the lives of the American people in “every way,” which has created “a number” of federal agencies that taxpayers do not need.
 
“Well, there are a number of Departments that we could seriously strip down and there are some departments that are costing us an arm and a leg for no good reason and it’s pure politics, pure liberal politics, to just build the federal government at the cost of everything else and get federal control here,” he told CNSNews.com.
 
“There are things the federal government can do better – national security, intelligence, there are a number of things that the federal government is geared to do better on -- but not everything, and they’re trying to get it into every one of our lives in every way and in the process, we get bureaucracies that don’t work,” Hatch said, adding, “people that on Friday afternoons, they’re gone before noon.”
 
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the federal government currently employs over 2 million people, 85 percent of whom work outside the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. 
 
“We’ve got all kinds of feather-bedding going on in the federal government that shouldn’t be here,” said Hatch. “You know, when you look at the health care program they tried to pawn off on America, it is everything that’s wrong with Washington in the eyes of the American public and yet it would have built the Democrat constituency like you can’t believe.”
 
“More and more people living off more and more of the government, and it’s the little red hen story that’s getting to the point where, if we don’t get it under control, a lot of good people are just going to quit working and quit paying their share and quit trying and that’s just wrong,” said Hatch. “It isn’t fair to do this to the taxpayers of the United States.”
 
When asked for a list of the agencies the senator was referencing, Hatch’s office directed CNSNews.com to Senator Tom Coburn’s office, who is leading efforts to eliminate duplication of services provided by several federal agencies.
 
Sen. Coburn (R-Okla.) has proposed an amendment that apparently would save taxpayers $120 billion “by consolidating more than 640 duplicative government programs, cutting wasteful Washington spending, and returning billions of dollars of unspent money,” reads the amendment.

The proposal aims to consolidate programs within the following federal agencies: Department of Agriculture, Department of Commerce, Department of Education, Department of Energy, Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Homeland Security, Department of Housing and Urban Development, Department of Interior, Department of Justice, Department of Labor, Department of State and Department of Transportation.
 
For example, the Department of Agriculture received $26.8 billion in discretionary funding for FY2010, which was a 6 percent increase over last year’s “non-emergency discretionary level.” Sen. Coburn’s amendment would eliminate $1.3 billion (five percent) from the Department and “direct the Secretary to eliminate and consolidate the over 130 duplicative programs at the Department and eliminate waste to produce savings.”
 

A transcript of the exchange between CNSNews.com and Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) follows below:
 
CNSNews.com: “Is there a federal agency that you think should be closed?”
 
Sen. Hatch: “Give me a chance. I’ll show you a number of them that I think we could do without. I’m not saying that there isn’t some good in all of them. Yeah, we could do without a number of federal agencies and, or at least federal programs all over the country, and if we narrowed it down to the ones that really work, the ones that really benefit our American citizens, it would be a heck of a lot less than we have today.”
 
CNSNews.com: “Senator (Judd) Gregg (R-N.H.) said that the Commerce Department would be a good place to start because they should be – he just said that would be an agency that could be cut to ultimately balance the budget or a least contribute to it.”
 
Sen. Hatch: “Which one’s that now?”
 
CNSNews.com: “The Commerce Department.”
 
Sen. Hatch: “Well, there are a number of Departments that we could seriously strip down and there are some departments that are costing us an arm and a leg for no good reason and it’s pure politics, pure liberal politics, to just build the federal government at the cost of everything else and get federal control here. There are things the federal government can do better – national security, intelligence, there are a number of things that the federal government is geared to do better on -- but not everything and they’re trying to get it into every one of our lives in every way and in the process, we get bureaucracies that don’t work; people that on Friday afternoons, they’re gone before noon.”
 
Sen. Hatch: “We’ve got all kinds of feather-bedding going on in the federal government that shouldn’t be here. You know, when you look at the health care program they tried to pawn off on America, it is everything that’s wrong with Washington in the eyes of the American public and yet it would have built the Democrat constituency like you can’t believe: More and more people living off more and more of the government, and it’s the little red hen story that’s getting to the point where if we don’t get it under control, a lot of good people are just going to quit working and quit paying their share and quit trying and that’s just wrong. It isn’t fair to do this to the taxpayers of the United States.”