BY FORMER GOV. LINDA LINGLE – Today our nation faces a $15.5 trillion national debt, which has forced many federal departments and agencies to cut services in order to address the shortfall. These cuts mean fewer federal dollars will flow to Hawaii in the coming years. As an example, the Department of Defense, whose presence is critical to our state’s economy, is being forced to cut $487 billion from its budget over the next nine years.
If elected to Hawaii’s U.S. Senate seat, I will collaborate with senators from both sides of the aisle to reign-in wasteful federal spending. As an example, I would focus on measures that would help all federal departments and agencies prevent, detect and recover improper or fraudulent procurements and payments by joining those senators working toward this goal, including Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), who together with Sen. Tom Carper (D-DE) authored bipartisan legislation. S. 1409, the Improper Payments Elimination and Recovery Improvement Act, would create greater oversight and accountability in federal spending.
According to the bill’s sponsors, the federal government has estimated improper payments of more than $100 billion for three years running, with record high in 2010 when improper payments reached an estimated $121 billion. Measures such as Sen. Collins’ and Sen. Carper’s Improper Payments Elimination and Recovery Improvement Act have attracted bipartisan support in the Senate and have served as a model for bipartisan efforts to cut waste in the House where a companion bill H.R. 4053, has broad support on both sides of the aisle and is making its way through the lower chamber.
I am surprised to see that Congresswoman Hirono has not signed on as co-sponsor of the House bill. This legislation is of great importance to the people of Hawaii, and there is every reason for Congress to push it through without delay.
In the midst of our nation’s fiscal crisis, we must ensure every dollar our federal government invests is not wasted. If elected as Hawaii’s next U.S. Senator I will put Hawaii’s “people first” by joining in the bipartisan effort to curb wasteful spending while ensuring that we maintain funding for the federal programs on which our state relies upon.
Former Gov. Linda Lingle (2002-2010) is a Republican candidate for U.S. Senate.