Listen:

Download as MP3

U.S. Rep. Ron Barber is among sponsors of a bill that would require every federal agency to reduce its budget, but in a way that Barber says is less arbitrary than sequestration cuts.

Sequestration, or the across-the-board federal spending cuts implemented in March, required agencies to cut a set amount from their budgets, and did not spare specific programs or give federal agencies flexibility in making cuts.

The bill, called the Congressional Oversight to Start Taxpayer Savings Resolution, would require every agency to look for duplication and spending waste, under the oversight of the appropriate committees of the House of Representatives, Barber said.

The committees would then be responsible for helping restructure agency budgets following cuts, he said.

“I think we’ll go a long way to closing the deficit without having to cut military services or Border Patrol pay or furloughs for air traffic controllers or all of the other things that have come about as a result of sequestration,” Barber said.

In many cases, wasteful spending is already known, he said.

"Literally billions of dollars over the last 10 years have been identified as wasteful or duplicative,” Barber said. But in many cases, the cuts haven't been made.

A few examples he offered are fraudulent billing in Medicare and Medicaid programs and unnecessary spending in the Department of Homeland Security.

Waste and abuse are common talking points for politicians on the campaign trail, he said, but “it’s real, it’s not just make believe, it’s not just political rhetoric. So now we have to move from talk to action, and that’s what our bill would do."