House Passes Peters, Portman Bipartisan Bill to Improve Transparency of Federal Spending

WASHINGTON, DC –U.S. Senators Gary Peters (D-MI), Ranking Member of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, and Rob Portman (R-OH) applauded the House passage of their bipartisan bill, the Congressional Budget Justification Transparency Act of 2019, to help make information about how the federal government is spending taxpayer dollars more accessible to taxpayers. The legislation will improve government transparency by requiring federal agencies to publish easily understandable justifications for their budget requests on a single, central website each year. Congressional budget justifications are plain-language explanations of how agencies propose to spend money that they request from Congressional appropriators. The materials would also be posted on each agency’s website. The legislation was approved by the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee on November 6th, 2019 and now awaits action on the Senate floor.

“Michiganders deserve to know how their hard-earned tax dollars are being spent, but budget justifications are often difficult to find or not publicly available at all,” said Senator Peters. “Each year, the federal government spends more than $100 million in Michigan, but without clear information about how resources are allocated, it’s difficult for taxpayers to see exactly how their money is being invested in their communities. I’m pleased the House passed this bipartisan, commonsense legislation and urge the Senate to pass it quickly so that we can continue strengthening accountability for government agencies and helping taxpayers in Michigan and across the country verify their tax dollars are being used effectively and efficiently.”

“Americans have the right to know how the federal government is spending their hard-earned tax dollars,” said Senator Portman. “This bipartisan legislation will help shine a light on government spending practices so that taxpayers can quickly and easily see how their money is being spent. I applaud the House for passing this important piece of legislation and urge the Senate to bring this legislation up for a vote soon.” 

The Congressional Budget Justification Transparency Act would amend the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006 to require that agency budget justifications be made publicly available on a centralized, searchable website, as well as each agency’s own website. It also requires OMB to keep an updated list of agencies that are expected to submit budget justifications, the date of submission to Congress, the date the justification is posted online, and a link to the materials online.