Committee Passes Legislation to End Obsolete Government Programs

Jun 4, 2013

House Administration Passes Legislation to Terminate Obsolete Election Agency and End Unpopular Program That Subsidizes Presidential Campaigns and National Party Conventions

WASHINGTON – Today, the Committee on House Administration led by Chairman Candice Miller, R-Mich., passed three bills (H.R. 1994, H.R. 94, and H.R. 95) to eliminate the Election Assistance Commission (EAC), an obsolete agency that has been without commissioners since 2011, and end taxpayer financing of presidential campaigns and national party conventions.  After Committee passage, Miller issued the following statement:

“These programs, obsolete and unpopular, epitomize President Reagan’s adage that, ‘a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see.’ 

“Despite the fact that they have far outlived their purpose, they continue to exist – costing taxpayers millions each year with zero benefit in return.  Instead of throwing more money at the problem, as Democrats suggest year after year, it’s time to shut them down.   This Committee, as well as the full House, pursued both legislative initiatives last Congress and will continue to make them a priority this Congress – American taxpayers should not be forced to subsidize government failure.  

“I thank Mr. Harper, Mr. Cole and Mr. Rokita for their continued dedication to shutting down these wasteful programs, and I hope that this Committee’s persistence will help finally put an end to them.”      

BACKGROUND:
H.R. 1994, sponsored by Committee member Rep. Gregg Harper, R-Miss., terminates the obsolete Election Assistance Commission (EAC).  The Commission, originally scheduled to sunset in 2005, has exhausted the federal funds it was responsible for distributing to states and has completed its required research programs.  Costing taxpayers an estimated $11.5 million annually, the Commission has been without commissioners since 2011.  H.R. 1994 is the third bill introduced by Rep. Harper to eliminate the Commission.  In December of 2011, the full House voted 235-190 to eliminate the EAC.

H.R. 94, Sponsored by Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla., would prohibit taxpayer funds collected through the Presidential Election Campaign Fund from being used for national party conventions.  Last year, the RNC and DNC received $36 million for their conventions. However, a review of the 2008 convention expenditures showed that these funds were used for floral arrangements, gift bags, live music and makeup consultants.
  
H.R. 95, Sponsored by Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla., would eliminate the Presidential Election Campaign Fund altogether, returning the Fund’s remaining balance of $260 million back to the U.S. Treasury for deficit reduction.  The program, intended to instill greater public confidence in presidential election campaigns, has lost the support of taxpayers and candidates alike.  According to the Federal Election Commission, the percentage of participating taxpayers dropped from 29% in 1980 to approximately 5% in 2012.  Major candidates starting refusing the funds back in 2000, and President Obama entirely opted out the program in 2008 and 2012, refusing funds for both the primary and general elections.

Counting H.R. 94 and H.R. 95, House Republicans have introduced five measures to eliminate the PECF.   The full House passed two bills that eliminated the program in its entirety in 2011, and overwhelmingly passed legislation to prohibit convention funding in September of 2012.

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