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Washington’s “Zombie Programs” Slip Out – Taxpayers Are Footing The Bill For Expired Programs To The Tune Of $332B
By Ben Dutka|April 9, 2021
Washington’s “Zombie Programs” Slip Out – Taxpayers Are Footing The Bill For Expired Programs To The Tune Of $332B

These days, American taxpayers are more concerned than ever about how the federal government is spending their money.

With massive trillion-dollar relief bills passed, more taxes rumored under the Biden administration, and an economy struggling to bounce back, the tax situation is a top priority for many.

That’s why this news will definitely raise some serious concerns.

It isn’t surprising to hear about the federal government spending (or even wasting) money on programs and projects that simply don’t go anywhere. Some never even get started.

But when $332 billion is being lost, and without the green light from Congress, we’ve got a big problem.

Taxpayers won’t be pleased to learn that in fact, the government has thrown billions down the drain.

Apparently, we’ve been paying for over 1,000 federal programs that haven’t been revisited in years, even decades.

From Fox News:

The federal government spends more than $332 billion on expired programs that Congress never reauthorized.

A total of 1,046 federal programs have expired but have continued to operate on autopilot without reauthorization from Congress, costing $332 billion, according to a Congressional Budget Office report from 2020.

The expired programs come from 272 separate laws, and we’re not only talking about obscure programs.

There’s tons of “autopilot money” set aside for things like the National Endowment of the Arts, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, and the Appalachian Regional Commission.

But there’s money flowing to the FBI and the Drug Enforcement Agency that hasn’t been authorized by Congress since 2009 (via Politico).

Congress hasn’t authorized the funds for the State Department since 2003, and hasn’t considered the money flowing to the National Weather Service since 1993.

The situation has clearly gotten out of control, according to director of governance at the R Street Institute, Jonathan Bydlak:

If Congress is not exercising its oversight authority, we will have more waste fraud and abuse. Maybe the expired programs are not wasteful, but how would we know if Congress isn’t doing its job?

An entire program may not be wasteful, but a function within that department might be. We don’t know because Congress doesn’t have a process in place to evaluate its relevance.

These unauthorized programs are known as “zombie programs,” and they comprise about 30 percent of federal spending, according to Americans for Tax Reform.

Some of these zombie programs have been around since 1977, in fact. That’s nearly 45 years without revisiting the funding for these programs, and it’s a huge issue for taxpayers.

On top of it all, the country sits at $23 trillion in debt — a number that doesn’t even seem possible.

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.) has proposed the Unauthorized Spending Accountability Act to stop this overspending, and force Congress to act on these issues.

Said Rodgers:

We have a fiscal crisis in America today. Too much of the federal government is on autopilot, and it’s up to Congress to address it.

Hopefully, this USA Act will have an immediate and dramatic impact. We really need to examine what we need and don’t need, and cut all this unnecessary spending way back.

At this point in the country’s history, it’s more important than ever to be sensible, and maybe even frugal. For the sake of future generations, at the very least.

Key Takeaways:

  • The federal government is spending $332B on over 1,000 “zombie programs.”
  • Some of this spending hasn’t been authorized by Congress in decades.
  • Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers has introduced the Unauthorized Spending Accountability Act to deal with the problem.

Source: Fox News

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Ben Dutka
Ben S. Dutka is a journalist, writer and editor with over two decades of experience. He has worked with three newspapers and eight online publications, and he has also won a Connecticut short story contest entitled Art as Muse, Imaginary Realms. He has a penchant for writing, rowing, reading, video games, and Objectivism.
Ben S. Dutka is a journalist, writer and editor with over two decades of experience. He has worked with three newspapers and eight online publications, and he has also won a Connecticut short story contest entitled Art as Muse, Imaginary Realms. He has a penchant for writing, rowing, reading, video games, and Objectivism.
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