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Lankford Highlights Government Excess, Duplication In Federal Spending Report

U.S. Senator James Lankford (R-Okla.) releases his governmnet waste and solutions report, "Federal Fumbles: 100 Ways the Governmnet Dropped the Ball," at a press conference, November 30, 2015.
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U.S. Senator James Lankford (R-Okla.) releases his governmnet waste and solutions report, "Federal Fumbles: 100 Ways the Governmnet Dropped the Ball," at a press conference Monday.

U.S. Sen. James Lankford unveiled a report Monday morning highlighting solutions to what he says is excessive federal spending. The “Federal Fumbles” document highlighted 100 examples of what Lankford sees as waste and duplication, with policy solutions for each.

Lankford wants to permanently eliminate $6 billion in federal wind subsidies, and get rid of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan. The EPA estimates that will cost $8.4 billion by the year 2030. Lankford said during a Monday morning press conference people want their government to be efficient when it comes to taxpayer dollars.

“This is not a matter of cutting,” Lankford said. “This is identifying things that are not federal priorities, or finding things that should be done better by a state, or things that we do wastefully.”

Among the more interesting items on the list included the elimination of U.S. Department of Agriculture licenses for therapy llamas. He also wants to get rid of $1.2 million in National Science Foundation spending on a Jetsons-style robot to help dress the elderly, and a National Park Service study examining what bugs do when you turn on the lights in a dark room.

The 145-page “Federal Fumbles” report targets programs close to both Democrats and the GOP, and is similar to the federal “Wastebook” former Oklahoma U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn published every year.

“He often said there should be 535 Wastebooks that are out there. Every office should look for it,” Lankford said. “And this is our attempt to say we’re going to put this out there, and we’re going to also try to find other offices that are also focusing on this and find areas of common ground and try to get started on this.”

But as Politico's Burgess Everett reports, Lankford avoided comparisons with his predecessor.

While Coburn was a thorn in the side of top GOP leaders as he objected to moving forward on popular legislation, Lankford is an easy-going Oklahoman friendly with his colleagues. . . . “This is not an attempt to try to carry on his legacy. There aren’t two Dr. Coburns. There’s only one,” Lankford said. Lankford isn't the only senator hoping to inherit Coburn’s waste-busting mantle: Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) has plucked an ex-Coburn staffer to put together his own Wastebook, set for release next week. The name of Flake's report indicates a possible blockbuster: “Wastebook: The Farce Awakens.”

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Brian Hardzinski is from Flower Mound, Texas and a graduate of the University of Oklahoma. He began his career at KGOU as a student intern, joining KGOU full time in 2009 as Operations and Public Service Announcement Director. He began regularly hosting Morning Edition in 2014, and became the station's first Digital News Editor in 2015-16. Brian’s work at KGOU has been honored by Public Radio News Directors Incorporated (PRNDI), the Oklahoma Association of Broadcasters, the Oklahoma Associated Press Broadcasters, and local and regional chapters of the Society of Professional Journalists. Brian enjoys competing in triathlons, distance running, playing tennis, and entertaining his rambunctious Boston Terrier, Bucky.
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