Forbes’ proposed spending cuts

Published 9:54 pm Saturday, April 2, 2011

Every year, our federal government spends billions of dollars on duplicative, underutilized and wasteful programs. This type of wasteful spending is wrong any time, but it is especially egregious at a time when our national debt has increased 63 percent in the past four years and currently stands at more than $14 trillion.

I want to share with you some of the actions I have taken over the past couple of weeks to de-fund and terminate some of those wasteful programs.

Eliminated the housing bailout program. I voted for H.R. 861 to terminate the Neighborhood Stabilization Program. Recent reports from the Inspector General for the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the General Accountability Office (GAO) have uncovered misused and inadequately tracked funds. The program received funding from various sources, including $1.93 billion from the stimulus bill (the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act) and $1 billion from the Wall Street bailout (the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act).

Email newsletter signup

Terminated unused mortgage relief program. I voted for the Emergency Mortgage Relief Program Termination Act (H.R. 836). This bill repeals the unused and under-funded Emergency Mortgage Relief Program that was initially authorized in 1975 and never funded until 2010.  This bill rescinds any of the $1 billion in funds appropriated that have not been used.

Terminated underutilized FHA Refinance Program. I voted for H.R. 830, which would terminate the FHA Refinance Program and restrict the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development from newly insuring any mortgage under the program. The program was funded with $8 billion in TARP funds. About $50 million of this $8 billion has been disbursed as of Feb. 3, 2011. Only 44 loans have been refinanced under this program as of mid-February and only 245 applicants have been submitted.

Used unspent funds for deficit reduction. I cosponsored the Congressional Budget Accountability Act (H.R. 121), which proposes unspent funds from Congressional offices be used to reduce the deficit.

These are just the tip of the iceberg in terms of opportunities to cut wasteful spending. I believe there are hundreds of other duplicative and underused programs that can be cut, and I will be looking for those opportunities over the next several weeks.

Congressman J. Randy Forbes represents the Fourth District of Virginia. Contact him at