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FY-Eye: Federal Budget-Saving Tips

By Ed O'Keefe

The Eye occasionally highlights research papers, speeches, or other media reports worth your time, or "For Your Eye." As Congress prepares to consider President Obama's budget proposals, the Project on Government Oversight has issued a series of interesting recommendations that might help the administration achieve its goals of eliminating wasteful and ineffective government programs:

1.) Weapons acquisition reforms: Changes could save the government $39 billion, POGO suggests. The group notes that "President Obama has indicated a willingness to make cuts to the VH-71 Presidential Helicopter Replacement Program (Marine One), which he called an example of military procurement 'gone amok.'" If trimmed, the program would save taxpayers around $7.5 billion.

2.) Sufficiently staff and provide for government auditors and Inspectors General: Greater staffing and funding for such efforts could save $31.5 billion. "Congress needs to provide auditors and IG offices with sufficient resources so that they can be truly effective 'junkyard' watchdogs. Although some IGs are receiving extra funding as part of the stimulus bill, it is also important to increase their funding in the long term."

3.) The Department of Energy should downblend its excess highly enriched uranium and sell it as fuel for nuclear reactors: Doing so would earn the government $21.6 billion. "Internal security tests and analyses have shown that the Department of Energy (DOE) cannot adequately protect America’s voluminous stockpiles of weapons grade nuclear material. In addition to posing a significant homeland security vulnerability, this dangerous material is very expensive to store and secure."

4.) Reduce the number of deployed nuclear warheads and stop funding for 'wasteful and unnecessary nuclear weapons facilities and plutonium pits': Total long-term savings would reach at least $11.2 billion, the group says.

5.) Phase Out the Interior Department's Royalty-In-Kind program and Return to Market-Priced Royalty-In-Value Program: "Oil and gas royalties collected from drilling on federal lands and waters are one of the largest sources of federal revenue other than taxes. Despite its important mission of collecting these royalties, the Department of the Interior’s (DOI) Minerals Management Service (MMS) has become best known for its mismanagement and corruption."

Focus your Eyes on the Project for Government Oversight's full report here. If you've read or seen any good speeches, research papers, or news reports about the federal government worth calling out send a link to federaleye@washingtonpost.com.

By Ed O'Keefe  | March 2, 2009; 4:30 PM ET
Categories:  FY-Eye  
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