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Politics and Government

Federal Waste And Inefficiency Target Of New Lankford Report

House Republican Conference
Sen. James Lankford, R-Oklahoma.

Oklahoma’s junior U.S. senator released a list today of what he considers 100 wasteful uses of government dollars.

Republican James Lankford’s“Federal Fumbles” report outlines what he says are inefficient grants and programs, as well as rules and regulations that Lankford says hurt businesses and consumers.

This is Lankford’s second report on what he considers wasteful spending through inefficient grants, programs, and regulations. He released a similar document last year.

“With $19.5 trillion worth of debt, this is something that cannot be ignored,” Lankford said at a press conference.

Lankford hopes his Federal Fumbles reports can be what he calls “a starting point” for work to reduce spending.

“This is a long-term issue over multiple years, but we’ve got to find some areas of agreement and hopefully with this and the book that we put out last year, we’ll continue to be able to find areas that we can actually try to get us back towards balance,” Lankford said.

Lankford’s report included a $500,000 grant for an archeological project in Iceland, $55 billion spent on maintaining inefficient computer hardware and software, and the Office of Personnel Management’s paper-filing system which causes many federal retirees to wait over 60 days to receive retirement benefits. Each of the items includes a suggestion to save money or make a project more efficient.

One regulation that Lankford highlights is a U.S. Department of Agriculture rule that requires businesses which accept Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) cards - commonly known as food stamps - to increase the selection of healthy food items like meats, vegetables and dairy products. The same rule requires those businesses to reduce the amount of hot food items such as hot dogs, fried foods and pizza, even though hot foods cannot be purchased by with a SNAP card. Lankford says businesses which do not meet these requirements would no longer be allowed to accept food stamps.

Lankford says the USDA has good intentions to get more healthy foods to SNAP recipients. However, the agency should not target convenience stores and gas stations that provide food stamps.

“It’s causing retailers that are out there, especially in rural areas or in food deserts in urban areas, to say we’re not going to provide SNAP benefits to people because we’re not going to cut back on our hot food items or we’re not going to provide tofu and other things,” Lankford said.

Lankford says bureaucracy and waste are the same under both Republican and Democrat administrations, and he plans to continue to watch for wasteful spending under the administration of Republican president-elect Donald Trump.

“I am committed to doing oversight the same with a Republican president as a Democrat president because we are still going to have the same issues in agencies and still have the same questions that we’ll raise of why did we do this?” Lankford said.


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