Bill would create federal ‘accountability’ panel

A presidential panel would have the authority to recommend cutting inefficient federal agencies and programs under legislation recently introduced in the Senate.

Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kansas, introduced S. 837, which would establish a 12-member, presidentially appointed commission that would weigh the costs and benefits of various federal agencies and programs. Panel members would recommend streamlining certain agency operations and programs, or, in some cases, eliminating them altogether.

"Billions of dollars are spent each year on inefficient federal agencies and programs, and taxpayers are forced to foot the bill," said Sen. Peter Fitzgerald, R-Ill., a co-sponsor of the bill. Fitzgerald introduced similar legislation in the last congressional session, but it was not approved.

The two-year "Commission on the Accountability and Review of Federal Agencies" would examine all federal agencies and programs outside the Defense Department. The panel would recommend realigning functions performed by two or more agencies or programs; eliminating agencies or programs that have wasted funds through mismanagement or fraud; and scrapping agencies or programs that have fulfilled their purpose or become irrelevant.