Far too often, people focus on our differences instead of what brings us together. Despite what we all may hear, common ground does exist among lawmakers from opposing parties.
Although one of us is a Democrat and one of us is a Republican, we both feel things can and should get done in Washington. Our constituents sent us to our nation’s Capitol not to position and posture, but to use common sense and compromise to move our country forward.
This is why we both joined the bipartisan group called ‘No Labels,’ and have been identified as Congressional Problem Solvers. We represent a wide range of opinions and beliefs, but are united in the desire to put partisanship aside and work together to find common ground.
We surely don’t agree on every issue, but there are plenty of areas that we can find to achieve results for the people we represent.
One area on which everyone can agree – both Democrats and Republicans – is the need to root out and eliminate government waste and protect taxpayer money.
That is why we both support the bipartisan Government Waste Reduction Act, a common sense bill that would reduce unnecessary duplicative government services, eliminate government waste and fraud and save hard-earned taxpayer dollars, while protecting the crucial programs upon which our neighbors rely.
For example, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services estimate they could achieve $21 billion in savings as a result of implementing widespread use of fraud detection systems. The Internal Revenue Service estimates that enhancing online services, such as providing taxpayers with the ability to access account information, would produce hundreds of millions of dollars in savings through operational efficiencies.
The Government Waste Reduction Act would establish an independent government waste reduction board tasked with developing legislative proposals based on recommendations from the non-partisan Government Accountability Office and sending them to Congress. Congress would then get an up-or-down vote on the proposals.
To promote accountability, and to include multiple points of view, the board would consist of 15 members, six from the majority party and six from the minority party in both the House and Senate, and three from the Administration.
Cutting down on unnecessary government waste, fraud and abuse is a good step in the right direction as we strive toward getting our fiscal house in order without jeopardizing essential programs like Social Security and Medicare.
The Government Waste Reduction Act alone will not solve our fiscal problems, but it is a bipartisan starting point that holds tremendous potential for reducing our deficit.
We both come from hard-working districts where our people expect their elected officials to put politics aside and do their jobs.
We hope our bipartisan bill is not only received as a common sense way to help reduce the deficit, but can also show the American people that governing in practical, common sense and reasonable ways is once again possible in Washington.
This story is an Op/Ed contribution to Credit.com and does not necessarily represent the views of the company or its partners.
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Images courtesy Rep. Cheri Bustos & Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick