Lankford’s Annual Report Offers Solutions to Federal Inefficiencies and Wasteful Spending

Published: March 07, 2019

Waste, Fraud, and Abuse

This week Sen. James Lankford (R-OK) released his fourth federal wastebook, entitled Federal Fumbles 2019, highlighting waste, abuse and inefficiency in federal programs and processes. The report also offers solutions to the problems identified, as well as presents successes and forward progress on issues highlighted in previous publications.

This year’s Federal Fumbles takes a different approach than the last three issues by not just focusing on wasteful federal spending, but also on wasteful government policies that contribute to the national debt. Lankford presents 53 specific programs and areas of federal inefficiency and waste, offering solutions for each. His book also proposes reforms to federal policies, regulations and processes to provide more transparent and efficient programs.  

As in the past, Lankford’s research identifies federal funding for seemingly odd initiatives such as to study Russia’s wine industry and to help kids learn to play mariachi instruments. But this year’s research devotes more attention to federal problem areas such as the ineffective budgeting process, the impact of federal shutdowns, immigration reform, problems with federal hiring, and regulations that stymy effectiveness.

The only IT issue highlighted in this year’s list of fumbles relates to GI Bill claims processing for veterans. VA’s IT systems are inadequate and antiquated for processing benefits effectively, hampering the VA workforce and timeliness of benefits. The Forever GI Bill authorized $30 million for necessary IT improvements in September 2017, but no progress has been seen to date.

The document also describes 18 “touchdowns” and six other areas showing forward progress across a number of programs previously listed as fumbles in prior reports.  The growing economy, improved transparency, opioid addiction treatment, drug pricing options, and improved veteran care are among those listed.

The bottom line is that the federal government still has a long way to go in order improve efficiency, curb pet projects, and reduce wasteful spending. In some cases, technology can help identify wasteful spending, and root out fraud and abuse.  Agencies will continue to strive to improve operations, processes, and payment accuracy in order to save taxpayers’ money, leaving the market ripe for continued contractor support, especially in the areas of financial management, payment accuracy, and fraud prevention.