WASHINGTON, DC – A bipartisan bill authored by U.S. Senators Gary Peters (D-MI) and Rob Portman (R-OH), Chairman and Ranking Member of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, to help make information about how the federal government is spending taxpayer dollars more accessible to the public has been signed into law. The new law 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. U.S. Representatives Mike Quigley (D-IL-05) and James Comer (R-KY-01) were the lead sponsors of the House companion bill.
“Hardworking Michiganders and Americans should not have to struggle to find out how their tax dollars are being put to use. That is why I led this effort to ensure federal agencies are more transparent about how they use funding for important programs,” said Senator Peters. “I applaud President Biden for signing this important, bipartisan bill into law to make it easier for taxpayers to see exactly how their money is being invested in their communities. I’ll continue my efforts to strengthen accountability across the government to ensure we are working effectively and efficiently for people all across the country.”
“Ohioans and all Americans should be able to easily evaluate how the federal government is spending their hard-earned tax dollars,” said Senator Portman. “I’m proud the bipartisan Congressional Budget Justification Transparency Act was signed into law today as it will improve federal government transparency by requiring federal agencies to publish their annual budget justifications on a centralized website. Americans deserve transparency when it comes to the government spending their tax dollars.”
“I am thrilled that the Congressional Budget Justification Transparency Act is officially the law of the land. Restoring Americans’ confidence in our democracy can begin with shining a light on how the federal government spends their tax dollars,” said Congressman Quigley. “While this is just one step in creating a more open and transparent government, I believe that it can pave the way for more bipartisan, common sense legislation like it. I look forward to working with my colleagues to continue to make what we do here more transparent and accessible to the public.”
The Congressional Budget Justification Transparency Act amends 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 the Office of Management and Budget 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.