North Carolina congressman highlights government waste, proposes solutions

The latest edition of a North Carolina Republican’s Budd’s Budget Busters list provides examples of federal government waste of taxpayer money.

“Nothing should be more frustrating to a taxpayer than to see their hard-earned dollars pay to lease vacant buildings that the federal government has no intention of ever using,” U.S. Rep. Ted Budd, R-North Carolina, said. “This is a prime example of what happens when federal agencies are not held accountable for failing to use basic best practices from the private sector. That’s why I’m planning to introduce legislation to force agencies to either use their property or let taxpayers off the hook.”

Budd’s Budget Buster list highlights unused federal government property. If the U.S. government sold unused property, taxpayers could save $15 billion over five years, Budd says.

According to a 2017 Congressional Research Service report, the federal government has 3,120 vacant buildings and 7,859 partially empty buildings.

According to a 2017 General Services Administration report, the types of assets held by the federal government include 5,066 bathrooms, 16,570 parking lots and garages, almost 17,000 warehouses, among other properties.

All told, the federal government owns roughly 267,000 buildings in the U.S. covering 1.9 billion square feet of office space.

The congressman said that taxpayers also are funding outdated computer systems. Updating them, he said, would save time, money, resources and improve national security.

Budd points to data from the Government Accountability Office, which states that 75 percent of the federal government’s IT funding supports the maintenance of outdated legacy software.

“Congress should perform enhanced oversight in the form of hearings and testimony and enact new legislation where it would be needed,” Budd says. “Agencies and departments should be held accountable for the glacial pace of technological change in the federal bureaucracy.”

The Department of Justice and the Social Security Administration currently use programming code from the 1950s and 1960s, according to Budd’s report; the Department of the Treasury still uses a pair of nearly 60-year-old systems. The Department of Veterans Affairs maintains veterans’ benefits on a more than 50-year-old system. The Department of Defense uses an over 50-year-old system of 8-inch floppy disks in the operation of the country’s nuclear arsenal.

Budd argues that federal agencies are still relying on 70-year-old outdated software because no one has held agency leaders accountable to update them.

This article was first published by The Center Square.

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