- The Washington Times - Monday, June 13, 2005

The Bush administration will reveal plans today for creating two commissions to evaluate all federal government agencies and eliminate those that do not perform as promised.

The “Sunset Commission” and the “Results Commission” will review the efficiency and necessity of all government agencies and recommend scrapping those that don’t fulfill their clear mission statements. The administration aims for the commissions to become a permanent aspect of culling government fat.

Sen. Tom Coburn, Oklahoma Republican, called the commissions “precisely the kind of bold leadership that will help Congress control its unsustainable spending habits.”

“One of the greatest impediments to the president’s vision of an ownership society is an inside-the-Beltway entitlement society, in which federal agencies expect ever-increasing budgets, regardless of their performance,” he said.

Mr. Coburn compared the effort to the series of Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) commissions, which are credited with closing nearly 100 major military bases and other installations across the country since 1988 with an annual cost savings in the tens of billions of dollars.

The last time such an effort was undertaken was when industrialist J. Peter Grace produced the Private Sector Survey on Cost Control for President Reagan. That effort determined that one in three taxpayer dollars is wasted, and its recommendations have been credited with slashing government spending and reducing unnecessary government regulation.

Mr. Grace went on to help form the group Citizens Against Government Waste, which criticizes Congress every year for what it sees as unneeded pork-barrel spending.

At today’s hearing, deputy director of management for the Office of Management and Budget, Clay Johnson III, will discuss administration plans for trimming government and give details about the two new commissions.

The Sunset Commission aims to hold agencies and programs accountable for their performance by reviewing each federal program on a schedule established by Congress to determine whether it is producing results and should continue to exist. Under the plan, programs would automatically terminate according to that schedule unless Congress takes specific action to continue them. The Results Commission will also seek to identify areas where government programs duplicate duties.

Based on figures provided by the Office of Management and Budget, more than 30 percent of federal programs and agencies are considered “ineffective” or “results not demonstrated” — meaning ripe for elimination.

Already in place is the administration’s Program Assessment Rating Tool (PART), which evaluates the efficiency and usefulness of all government agencies.

PART has evaluated 607 government programs that make up 60 percent — or $1.4 trillion — of the entire federal budget, according to the OMB. Only 15 percent of those programs have been rated “effective.”

Rowan Scarborough contributed to this report.

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