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Meet Senator Thompson

Monday, April 23, 2007

Press Statement: Thompson Releases Report About Government Problems

June 5, 2001
Thompson Releases Report on Urgent Federal Government Management Problems Facing the Bush Administration
Tells OMB Director Daniels Government is "at the Brink" of Major Program Failure

Washington - U.S. Senator Fred Thompson (R-TN), chairman of the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee, today released a comprehensive report documenting the daunting management problems facing the federal government. Thompson presented the recently compiled report, which includes his recommendations for addressing those problems, to Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director Mitchell E. Daniels, Jr. at a press conference in Washington.
"For some time now, our government has been mismanaged to an extent that the average American would find shocking," Senator Thompson said. "The federal government’s core management problems have persisted for years, and, in fact, have grown worse."
Thompson’s report includes an analysis of the four biggest challenges facing the federal government:
Workforce Management
Financial Management
Information Technology Management
Overlap and Duplication
"We commend Sen. Thompson and his Committee for pushing the Federal government to be more efficient and effective. Improving government performance is a top priority of President Bush, so the problems and suggestions outlined in this report will be a great resource and road map as we implement our management reform agenda. It will take the unremitting attention of both executive and legislative leadership to make headway against old habits and low expectations," said OMB Director Daniels.
In addition to a description of these problems and examples of how they affect the government’s ability to serve the American people, the report includes an agency-by-agency appendix that catalogues the most recent examples of waste, fraud, and abuse throughout the federal government.
The report also highlights the "Top Ten" worst examples of mismanagement in the federal government (page four). Some of the items on the list include: Boston’s Big Dig, a federal infrastructure project so mismanaged that its cost has ballooned from over $2 billion to over $13 billion; the Department of Interior’s total inability to account for monies it held in trust for Native Americans; and NASA’s numerous mission failures.
"These management problems exact a terrible toll on public trust and confidence in the federal government," Thompson said. "A degree of public skepticism toward our government is a healthy thing. Rampant cynicism is not."


Thomspon urges attack of High-Risk Problems

Leadership needed to spur action

WASHINGTON – Senate Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Fred Thompson (R-TN)
and Oversight of Government Management, Restructuring and the District of Columbia Subcommittee Chairman George Voinovich (R-OH) Thursday asked the Administration to take concrete steps to solve the twenty-two problems on the General Accounting Office’s current High-Risk List. These problems constitute the worst examples of fraud, waste, and mismanagement in the federal government, and waste billions of taxpayer dollars every year, impeding service to the public, and undermining confidence in government.
In a joint letter to Office of Management and Budget Director Mitchell Daniels, the Senators urged OMB to establish specific performance goals and target deadlines to solve each of the twenty-two problems, and to include those goals in the annual government-wide performance plans required by the Government Performance and Results Act.
"Unfortunately, the prior Administration refused to develop goals to solve the high-risk problems," the Senators wrote. "As a result, we have made little progress. We think the Bush Administration must take this task on."
Although the GAO has published its High-Risk List for years, the Clinton Administration chose to issue their own list of "Priority Management Objectives" that acknowledged only some of the challenges on the High-Risk List.
"The Clinton Administration not only failed to establish and accomplish their own tangible goals," Senator Thompson said, "but they also failed to address the outstanding management challenges consistently appearing on the High-Risk List. I’m encouraged by the interest the Bush team has already shown in taking on these problems," Thompson added. "I hope that making the specific commitments we’re asking for will further demonstrate their leadership resolve and sound a powerful signal throughout the government."
"Attacking these high-risk problems will be no easy task," said Voinovich. "Fortunately, the President has chosen a team with proven management skills. They are clearly up to the challenge, and Senator Thompson and I will do all we can to help."


Thompson Introduces Federal Accountability Act

Bill Will Protect Authority of State and Local Governments

Washington, DC -- Senate Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Fred Thompson (R-TN) introduced legislation late yesterday to protect state and local governments from unchecked federal intrusion. The “Federalism Accountability Act” would impose accountability on Congress and the Executive Branch before they could override state and local law.
“The Founding Fathers divided power between the federal government and the states. The constitutional principle of federalism -- embodied in the Tenth Amendment -- raises two fundamental questions that policy makers should answer: What should government be doing? And what level of government should do it? Everything else flows from them. That’s why federalism is at the heart of our democracy,” said Senator Thompson.
“Our governmental structure is based on an optimistic belief in the power of people and their communities,” added Thompson. “I share that view.”
A recent General Accounting Office report shows that there has been gross noncompliance with a 1987 executive order directing federal agencies to prepare federalism assessments for actions that would preempt state and local laws. In a review of over 11,000 issued over a 3-year period, GAO found that the agencies had prepared only five federalism assessments under the executive order.
“Congress and the Administration should not take lightly the preemption of state and local laws,” Thompson said. “We need to face the fact that Congress too often has acted as if it has a general police power to engage in any issue, no matter how local. Both Congress and the Executive Branch have neglected to consider prudential and constitutional limits on their powers.”
The Federalism Accountability Act would:
require Congress and agencies to issue an explicit statement of congressional or agency intent when they preempt state or local law, and if so, an explanation of the reasons for such preemption;
require each agency head to designate a federalism officer to implement the requirements of this legislation and to serve as a liaison to state and local officials;
require agencies early on to notify, consult with, and provide an opportunity for meaningful participation by state and local public officials that could potentially be affected by a rule;
require agencies to provide a federalism assessment for rules that have federalism impacts;
require the Congressional Budget Office to compile a report on preemptions by federal rules, court decisions, and legislation;
amend the Government Performance and Results Act of 1993 to clarify that performance measures for state-administered grant programs are to be determined in cooperation with public officials;
and amend the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 to clarify that major new requirements imposed on states under entitlement authority are to be scored by CBO as unfunded mandates. It also would require that when Congress caps the federal share of an entitlement program, the Committee report and the accompanying CBO report must analyze whether the legislation includes new flexibility or whether there is existing flexibility to offset additional costs.
This legislation was developed with representatives of the “Big 7" organizations representing State and local government, including the National Governors' Association, the National Conference of State Legislatures, the Council of State Governments, the National League of Cities, the National Association of Counties, the U.S. Conference of Mayors, and the International City/County Management Association.
Cosponsors include Senators Carl Levin (D-MI), George Voinovich (R-OH), Chuck Robb (D-VA), Thad Cochran (R-MS), Blanche Lincoln (D-AR), Bill Roth (R-DE), John Breaux (D-LA), Mike Enzi (R-WY) and Evan Bayh (D-IN).


Passage of Thompson Regulatory Right-to-Know Legislation

Senators Thompson, Stevens, and Breaux Announce Final Passage of Regulatory Right-to-Know Legislation

WASHINGTON - Senate Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Fred Thompson (R-TN), Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Ted Stevens, (R-AK), and Senator John Breaux (D-LA) announced that the Senate yesterday approved the Thompson-Stevens-Breaux Regulatory Right-to-Know Act. The Act will require the White House’s Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to disclose to the public the costs and benefits of regulatory programs in a report to be included each year in the Federal Budget. The legislation is contained in Section 624 of the Treasury-Postal Appropriations conference report, which now goes to the President for his signature.
"The Regulatory Right-to-Know Act is based on a simple but important idea," Chairman Thompson said. "People have a right to know the costs and benefits of important regulatory decisions. This will help the Congress, the President, and the public better understand whether regulations are sensible and fair."
Senator Stevens, chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, said, "This is an important tool for decision-makers. It will give Congress the ability to perform its oversight function in a more efficient and effective manner. In order to make sound decisions, Congress must have access to how and why agencies make decisions, and what the consequences of those decisions would be."
"Government has an obligation to carefully consider mandates that impose costs on people and limit their freedom," Senator Breaux said. "Now we members of Congress and the American people will know, each year, the real value of proposed Federal regulations."
The Thompson-Stevens-Breaux legislation, which has been included in the Treasury-Postal Appropriations bill as a one-year reporting requirement for the last two years, strengthens and makes permanent the original regulatory accounting provision secured by Senator Ted Stevens (R-AK) in 1996. The Regulatory Right-to-Know Act requires the OMB director to provide Congress with a report on the total annual benefits and costs of Federal regulatory programs, as well as an analysis of the impacts of federal regulation on State, local, and tribal government, small business, wages, and economic growth. It also requires OMB to issue agency guidelines and to solicit public comment and expert peer review to continually improve the quality of the reports.
"This is about good government," Thompson said. "This legislation will help hold Federal agencies accountable for the cost and effectiveness of their regulations and reduce needless waste and red tape. It will promote responsible efforts to protect public health, safety and the environment, and it will promote the economic security and well-being of our families and communities. I am pleased that the costs and benefits of regulation can now receive the attention of the Executive Branch and Congress when we debate the Federal Budget each year."


Thompson Measure Increases Govt Access to Commercial Markets


(Washington, DC) -- Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Fred Thompson yesterday introduced legislation to revise accounting standards used for Federal government contracts (S. 1151). In addition, Senator Thompson was successful in getting the bill language included as an amendment to the Fiscal Year 2000 National Defense Authorization Act approved last night by the Senate.
Senator Thompson said, "Industry sellers and government buyers continue to identify the government’s Cost Accounting Standards as a remaining barrier to the integration of commercial items into the government marketplace. This bill carefully balances the government’s need for greater access to commercial items, particularly those of nontraditional suppliers, with the need for strong accounting standards to protect taxpayer dollars."
Joining Senator Thompson in this effort are Governmental Affairs Committee Ranking Member Joseph Lieberman (D-CT), and the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Armed Services Committee, Senators John Warner (R-VA) and Carl Levin (D-MI).
In recent years, Congress has enacted two major acquisition reform statutes which changed the trend in government contracting toward simplifying the government’s acquisition process and eliminating many government-unique requirements. In keeping with this trend toward commercial market practices, this bill further streamlines the federal procurement system to save taxpayer dollars.
Senator Thompson’s bill would:
· raise the threshold for coverage under the Cost Accounting Standards from $25 million to $50 million;
· exempt contractors from coverage if they do not have a contract in excess of $5 million;
· exclude coverage based on firm, fixed price contracts awarded on the basis of adequate price competition without the submission of certified cost or pricing data; and
· provide for waivers by agencies under certain situations.


Signs of Intelligence?

From The Fred Thompson Report:

April 19, 2007
Signs of Intelligence?

One of the things that's got to be going through a lot of peoples' minds now is how one man with two handguns, that he had to reload time and time again, could go from classroom to classroom on the Virginia Tech campus without being stopped. Much of the answer can be found in policies put in place by the university itself.
Virginia, like 39 other states, allows citizens with training and legal permits to carry concealed weapons. That means that Virginians regularly sit in movie theaters and eat in restaurants among armed citizens. They walk, joke and rub shoulders everyday with people who responsibly carry firearms -- and are far safer than they would be in San Francisco, Oakland, Detroit, Chicago, New York City, or Washington, D.C., where such permits are difficult or impossible to obtain.
The statistics are clear. Communities that recognize and grant Second Amendment rights to responsible adults have a significantly lower incidence of violent crime than those that do not. More to the point, incarcerated criminals tell criminologists that they consider local gun laws when they decide what sort of crime they will commit, and where they will do so.
Still, there are a lot of people who are just offended by the notion that people can carry guns around. They view everybody, or at least many of us, as potential murderers prevented only by the lack of a convenient weapon. Virginia Tech administrators overrode Virginia state law and threatened to expel or fire anybody who brings a weapon onto campus.
successfully prevented a number of attempted mass murders. Evidence from Israel, where many teachers have weapons and have stopped serious terror attacks, has been documented. Supporting, though contrary, evidence from Great Britain, where strict gun controls have led to violent crime rates far higher than ours, is also common knowledge.
So Virginians asked their legislators to change the university's "concealed carry" policy to exempt people 21 years of age or older who have passed background checks and taken training classes. The university, however, lobbied against that bill, and a top administrator subsequently praised the legislature for blocking the measure.
The logic behind this attitude baffles me, but I suspect it has to do with a basic difference in worldviews. Some people think that power should exist only at the top, and everybody else should rely on "the authorities" for protection.
Despite such attitudes, average Americans have always made up the front line against crime. Through programs like Neighborhood Watch and Amber Alert, we are stopping and catching criminals daily. Normal people tackled "shoe bomber" Richard Reid as he was trying to blow up an airliner. It was a truck driver who found the D.C. snipers. Statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that civilians use firearms to prevent at least a half million crimes annually.
When people capable of performing acts of heroism are discouraged or denied the opportunity, our society is all the poorer. And from the selfless examples of the passengers on Flight 93 on 9/11 to Virginia Tech professor Liviu Librescu, a Holocaust survivor who sacrificed himself to save his students earlier this week, we know what extraordinary acts of heroism ordinary citizens are capable of.
Many other universities have been swayed by an anti-gun, anti-self defense ideology. I respect their right to hold those views, but I challenge their decision to deny Americans the right to protect themselves on their campuses -- and then proudly advertise that fact to any and all.
Whenever I've seen one of those "Gun-free Zone" signs, especially outside of a school filled with our youngest and most vulnerable citizens, I've always wondered exactly who these signs are directed at. Obviously, they don't mean much to the sort of man who murdered 32 people just a few days ago.

From: The Fred Thompson Report

Thompson "Truth In Regulatory Act"

Bill Encourages Better Rulemaking at Federal Agencies

Washington, DC -- Senate Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Fred Thompson (R-TN) has introduced legislation to give Congress access to key data on which major regulations are based before the regulations go into effect.
“This information will support Congressional oversight to ensure regulations are efficient, effective, and fair,” Thompson said. “It will also help Congress make sure that regulations follow congressional intent.”
Joining Thompson in introducing this bipartisan legislation are: Senators Blanche Lincoln (D-AR), George Voinovich (R-OH), Bob Kerrey (D-NE), John Breaux (D-LA) and Mary Landrieu (D-LA).
“This legislation will help Congress participate in federal agency rulemaking before the horse gets out of the barn,” Thompson said. “So in a real sense, this legislation not only gives people the right to know; it gives them the right to see -- to see how the government works, or doesn’t.”
The legislation is designed to make the regulatory process more transparent, more accountable, and more democratic. Under the three-year pilot project established by the “Truth in Regulating Act of 1999,” a Committee of either house of Congress may ask the General Accounting Office (GAO) to review an economically significant rule as it is being developed. The GAO must submit a report within 180 days, allowing Congress ample time to decide whether it wants to disapprove the rule under the Congressional Review Act. This Act enables Congress to reject regulations under expedited procedures.
“I hope this legislation will encourage federal agencies to make better use of modern decision-making tools, such as risk assessment and benefit-cost analysis,” said Thompson. “Currently, these important tools often are viewed simply as options -- options that aren’t used as much or as well as they should be.”
The Comptroller General’s independent analysis of the rule would have to include:
An analysis of the potential benefits of the rule;
The potential costs of the rule;
Any alternative approaches that could achieve the goal in a more cost-effective manner or that could produce greater net benefits;
The extent to which the rule would affect state or local governments; and
A summary of how the results of the analysis of the Comptroller General differ, if at all, from the results of agency analyses.


Citizens Group Award

For Immediate Release May 7, 2003For Further Information, Contact:Maureen Tell, Peter J. Sepp, (703) 683-5700
Citizen Group Salutes "Taxpayers' Friends" in Congress
Just 36 Lawmakers Receive Awards for Scores on NTU's 2002 Rating
(Washington, DC) – Many Members of Congress talked about strengthening America’s economic security last year, but far fewer consistently backed up their words with votes. Today a Capitol Hill ceremony sponsored by the 335,000-member National Taxpayers Union (NTU) presented “Taxpayers’ Friend Awards” to an elite group of 36 lawmakers who earned top scores on the group’s comprehensive and widely-respected Rating of Congress in 2002.
“Not all Members of Congress fought day in and day out during 2002 for the principle of limited government that is the cornerstone of our country’s greatness,” said NTU President John Berthoud. “Fortunately, at least 36 allies in Congress demonstrated an unwavering commitment to taxpayers. We are proud to honor this fiscal ‘coalition of the willing.’”
NTU officials furnished a special certificate to “Taxpayers’ Friend Award” winners during the ceremony that recognized each recipient’s efforts to “further the cause of vitally needed fiscal integrity.”
The Rating, which since 1978 has been based on every roll call vote affecting fiscal policy, assigns a “Taxpayer Score” to each Member of Congress that indicates his or her support for reducing or controlling federal spending, taxes, debt, and regulation. In the year 2002, a total of 139 House and 115 Senate roll call votes were selected. The average Taxpayer Score was 41 percent in the House – roughly equal to 2001’s mark. However, averages slumped significantly in the Senate, to 40 percent in 2002 versus 46 percent the year before.
Lawmakers who received the Taxpayers’ Friend Award for the year 2002 had to achieve a score of at least 64 percent in the House or 70 percent in the Senate. The highest scorers in the House and Senate, respectively, were Ron Paul (R-TX) with 88 percent and Jon Kyl (R-AZ) with 82 percent.
NTU is a non-profit, non-partisan citizen organization founded in 1969 to work for lower taxes, less wasteful spending, and accountable government at all levels. Note: The 2002 Rating, which reports Taxpayer Scores for all lawmakers, is available via fax or online at www.ntu.org. Staff members are available for comment on particular scores. Recipients of the 2002 Taxpayers’ Friend Award follow:

U.S. House of Representatives
Todd Akin (MO)
Virgil Goode (VA)
Joe Pitts (PA)
Bob Barr (GA)
Gil Gutknecht (MN)
Dana Rohrabacher (CA)
Chris Cannon (UT)
Joel Hefley (CO)
Ed Royce (CA)
Steve Chabot (OH)
John Hostettler (IN)
Jim Sensenbrenner (WI)
Christopher Cox (CA)
Brian Kerns (IN)
John Shadegg (AZ)
Mac Collins (GA)
Donald Manzullo (IL)
Nick Smith (MI)
Phil Crane (IL)
Gary Miller (CA)
Cliff Stearns (FL)
John Duncan (TN)
Jeff Miller (FL)
Tom Tancredo (CO)
Jeff Flake (AZ)
Ron Paul (TX)
Pat Toomey (PA)

U.S. Senate
John Ensign (NV)
Jon Kyl (AZ)
Rick Santorum (PA)
Mike Enzi (WY)
Richard Lugar (IN)
Craig Thomas (WY)
Phil Gramm (TX)
Don Nickles (OK)
Fred Thompson (TN)


CAGW Praises Thompson Report On Federal Mismanagement


Washington, D.C. - Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) today commended U.S. Senator Fred Thompson (R-Tenn.), the outgoing chairman of the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee, for a report released today documenting the federal government's staggering levels of waste, abuse, and mismanagement. Thompson presented the report, which includes his recommendations for addressing those problems, to Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director Mitch Daniels at a press conference in Washington.
"Once again, Chairman Thompson deserves great credit for exposing the pervasive problems in the federal government," CAGW President Tom Schatz said. "As CAGW has documented repeatedly, many federal agencies and programs are duplicative, unaccountable, nontransparent, get poor results, lose money, are mismanaged, and outdated. These problems have persisted for decades, and as this report indicates, are growing worse and require rapid action."
Thompson's report includes analysis of the four biggest challenges facing the federal government: workforce management, financial management, information technology management, and overlap and duplication. In addition, the report includes an agency-by-agency appendix citing examples of waste, fraud, and abuse. The report also contains a list of the "Top Ten" worst examples of mismanagement in the government.
"As CAGW has documented for 17 years, every year the federal government literally flushes hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars down the drain," Schatz added. "It is a disgrace and would be intolerable in any sphere outside government. Hopefully, the new Democrat majority in the Senate will follow Thompson's lead to root out waste and work with President Bush for reform."
"OMB Director Daniels deserves thanks from taxpayers for remaining focused on a common-sense waste-cutting agenda, and this report will help him target some of the worst bloat for elimination," Schatz concluded. "CAGW continues to recommend the White House empanel a nonpartisan waste commission for a stem to stern audit of the government. This is the surest way to achieve fundamental and lasting reform."
CAGW is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, dedicated to eliminating waste, fraud, and abuse in government.




Fred Thompson

Fred Thompson
Former U.S. Senator (R-TN)