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Owens unveils efficiency legislation with other “No Labels” members

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Rep. William L. Owens, D-Plattsburgh, joined Democratic and Republican members of the “No Labels Congressional Problem Solvers” Thursday in unveiling a package of legislation that members of the group say will make government more efficient.

“Working together on this legislative package has shown us that we aren’t as divided as people think,” Mr. Owens said in a news release. “All of us want an efficient government, and we know that can only happen when Members of Congress start working together.”

The No Labels group, made up of 43 Democratic, one independent and 37 Republican lawmakers from both houses, put forward nine policy recommendations, seven of which Mr. Owens cosponsored.

The government efficiency package is the group’s first legislative initiative, according to the release.

The seven bills cosponsored by Mr. Owens are:

n A bill that would prevent lawmakers from receiving their paychecks until after they pass a budget and all annual spending bills. H.R. 310 and S. 124: “No Budget, No Pay.”

n A bill that would implement the Government Accountability Office’s 2013 recommendations for the elimination of duplicate government agencies and programs. H.R. 2506 and S. 1233: “Don’t Duplicate, Consolidate.”

n A bill that would stop assuming automatic year-to-year spending increases in agency budgets. H.R. 2686: “No Adding, No Padding.”

n A bill introduced by Rep. Christopher P. Gibson, R-Kinderhook, that would merge the electronic health records of the Department of Defense with the Department of Veterans Affairs. H.R. 2590 and S. 1296: “21st Century Healthcare for Heroes.”

n A bill that would cut 50 percent of government agency travel and replace it with videoconferencing. H.R. 2643: “Stay in Place, Cut the Waste.”

n A bill introduced by Rep. Peter F. Welch, D-Vt., that would reduce energy waste in federal buildings, paying private companies who identify energy savings with the dollars they save rather than taxpayer money. H.R. 2689 and S. 1308: “Wasted Energy, Wasted Dollars.”

n A bill introduced by Rep. Daniel Maffei, D-Syracuse, and Rep. Todd Young, R-Ind., that would enforce strategic sourcing so that separate divisions within a single federal agency do not make independent contracts for common items. H.R. 2694 and S. 1304: “Buy Smarter and Save.”

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