PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Republican and Democratic lawmakers in Rhode Island are pressing for the creation of an Office of Inspector General to root out government abuse, fraud and waste.

Republican Rep. Robert Lancia said at a news conference Thursday that the state’s budget shortfall makes the need for the watchdog role more urgent. He is the lead sponsor of a bill to create the office.

The bill would give the office subpoena power to investigate mismanagement of public funds at the local, state and federal level. In addition to pursuing civil and criminal cases, the inspector general would issue annual recommendations on cost-saving measures.

The Providence Journal reports that the legislature has an auditor general and the Department of Administration has auditors that work with state agencies.