Amid Biden spending spree, some in GOP call for committee to find waste, abuse in budget

"We are in a place where our mandatory spending is eating us alive," Rep. Cammack said. "And we don't even have a discussion about our mandatory spending. It's all about discretionary."

Updated: May 4, 2021 - 10:29pm

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As President Biden ramps up taxes and spending, some Republicans are pressing for a committee to look into waste, fraud, abuse and duplicative spending in the federal budget.

Biden and his Democratic allies are looking to spend $4.1 trillion in an "infrastructure" bill, which Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) called a "grab bag, which has infrastructure in it but a whole lot of other stuff."

Some congressional Republicans, meanwhile, are offering a counterproposal.

Rep. Kat Cammack (R-Fla.) told the John Solomon Reports podcast on Tuesday: "This House Resolution 263, it's the Finding Federal Savings Committee, and it would establish a committee to analyze underperforming or non-essential federal programs, and then recommend solutions to modify those programs. So this is step zero, of step one, in actually cutting the unnecessary, wasteful spending that goes on in government."

Cammack cited the Department of Education as an example of unnecessary spending in federal agencies.

"When the government shut down, the Department of Education, they furloughed 90% of their employees because they were deemed non-essential," Cammack said. "And when you start looking at the mission statements of these agencies and the subagencies underneath them, you see that they have strayed so far with mission creep from their original intent. And so this would really be a concentrated, dedicated effort to look at the mission statement and really analyze, 'Is this agency doing exactly what it said it is set out to do?' And, of course, we all know, common sense tells us that, no, most of these agencies are far beyond that."

Cammack said that the Finding Federal Savings Committee "is a purposeful, laser-focus way for us to approach it in a very methodical way. Because so often we say, 'Let's just cut, cut, cut, cut, cut.' This is a way that we can actually take the burden of proof to every single legislator and say, 'Listen, this is duplicative or this is wasteful. This is wrought with fraud.'"

She mentioned how mandatory spending, which includes "Social Security, Medicare, and a little bit of defense," is the part of the budget that needs to be cut the most, even though it's often ignored.

"We are in a place where our mandatory spending is eating us alive," she said. "And we don't even have a discussion about our mandatory spending. It's all about discretionary. And if we were to leave things on autopilot, and interest rates go up even a quarter of a percent, the interest on our debt alone would consume the majority of discretionary spending.

"We have to get to this place where we're looking at both mandatory and discretionary, but recognize that discretionary spending is going to be a non-issue if we can't get mandatory under control."

Cammack compared the federal government's spending to everyday Americans' spending.

"We, as everyday Americans, we have to live within our means and a budget and, you know, pay bills every month and it seems like the federal government doesn't," she said.

She added that the federal government should look for areas to cut spending, catch up on payments if it's behind, etc., like everyone else does.

Cammack explained how her office helps constituents of Florida's 3rd Congressional District retrieve money owed to them by the federal government that gets held up in the bureaucracy.

"It's really important for me, as a representative for the third district, to show my constituents that 'Hey, every single month you're going to get an update. How many casework issues are we handling for people, whether it be IRS or social security or the VA?' And a lot of the times the cases that we're working, they result in retroactive benefits that were owed to people that the government was withholding for ridiculous reasons," like forgetting to check a certain box to receive VA benefits.

Cammack said of her team that "in the short time we've been in Congress, four months, they've delivered over a half a million dollars in direct, hard money back to our constituents here in the third district. And that doesn't even include the stimulus payments."

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