Senate Passes Tester’s Bipartisan Bill to Eliminate Wasteful Government Perk

Senator: Washington Bureaucrats Don’t Need an Ego Boost

(Big Sandy, Mont.) – U.S. Senator Jon Tester’s legislation to cut waste by eliminating taxpayer funded portraits of government officials is one step closer to becoming law.

Tester’s bipartisan Eliminating Government-Funded Oil-Paintings (EGO) Act will end a long time perk for Washington politicians by prohibiting federal agencies from using taxpayer dollars to commission official portraits of government employees.

“When folks pay their taxes, they expect their hard-earned dollars to go towards fixing our crumbling roads and bridges, educating our kids and grandkids, and keeping our country safe,” said Tester. “Taxes from hardworking Montanans shouldn’t be used to boost the egos of bureaucrats in Washington, D.C.”

The federal government often commissions official oil portraits of government officials to commemorate their time in office. These portraits cost taxpayers tens of thousands of dollars each year and are typically displayed at secured locations within federal agencies, and are not available for public viewing.

Taxpayers spent $46,790 for a portrait of former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, his second portrait to be displayed at the Pentagon. Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Steve Preston was commissioned a $19,500 portrait after only serving seven months in the position. The average cost for an official portrait is about $25,000.

The Congressional Budget Office estimates that Tester’s bill will save taxpayers nearly $500,000 per year.

The EGO Act has passed the House and Senate and will be sent to President Trump for his signature.