Lankford Hopes Latest 'Federal Fumbles' Renews Focus on Debt and Deficit

Dec 2, 2019

Oklahoma U.S. Senator James Lankford released on Monday the fifth edition of his annual government waste report, "Federal Fumbles: Ways the Government Dropped the Ball."

Lankford said as long as the economy does well enough, people forget about the $23 trillion federal debt and $1 trillion current year deficit.

"We’re not trying to say that the ideas in this book solve the total federal deficit or debt. We’re trying to be able to lay out a set of inefficiencies and say, 'We should look at this.' Some of it’s in the billions of dollars," Lankford said.

This year's "Federal Fumbles" points out $383 billion in potentially wasteful or inefficient government spending, including  discretionary spending in excess of 10-year caps, grants spent on Russian studies, and cancellation of $16 billion in flood insurance debt.

The report also mentions hundreds of millions in new federal funding given to states as grants to spend on shoring up election security after Russian attempts to interfere in 2016. Lankford said grants have gone to all 50 states, the District of Columbia, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

hundreds of millions in new federal funding given to states as grants to spend on shoring up election security after Russian attempts to interfere in 2016. Lankford says grants have gone to all 50 states, D-C, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico and the U-S Virgin Islands.

"But as of a few months ago, the only money that had been spent by the states were about $108 million of the $380 million that had been allocated," Lankford said.

Lankford said with the 2020 election coming up, states must take responsibility for making sure their elections are secure.

Tariffs on Chinese goods got a mention in the report, too. Lankford said while he appreciates President Trump’s efforts to stop China from stealing intellectual property and otherwise impede U.S. government and business, tariffs have cost Americans $34 billion so far.

"In this tariff war, there’s a real possibility that people are paying more for their clothes, more for food, more for electronics, more for their toys and consumer goods they’re buying at Christmas based on this tariff that’s there, and my encouragement to the administration is get this resolved," Lankford said.