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

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Gary Peters (D-MI), Ranking Member and Chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, applauded the House passage of their bipartisan bill, the Congressional Budget Justification Transparency Act, to help make information about how the federal government is spending taxpayer dollars more accessible to the public. 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 bipartisan legislation passed the Senate last month and now heads to President Biden’s desk to be signed into law. U.S. Representatives James Comer (R-KY) and Mike Quigley (D-IL) are the lead sponsors of the House companion bill. 

“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 applaud the House of Representatives for passing the bipartisan Congressional Budget Justification Transparency Act to 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 and I hope President Biden will sign this bipartisan legislation into law soon.” 

“Finding out how federal agencies are spending taxpayer dollars can be extremely difficult. This lack of transparency is highly concerning and Americans and Michiganders deserve to know how these funds are used to improve their lives and livelihoods,” said Senator Peters. “I’m grateful to Congressman Quigley for helping to pass our bipartisan, commonsense legislation through the House and urge the President to sign it into law as soon as possible so we can bolster accountability for the federal government and help ensure taxpayer dollars are being put to good use.”  

“The American people must be in the drivers’ seat when it comes to their government, especially how it plans to spend their money. For too long, the budget process has lurked in the shadows. The Congressional Budget Justification Transparency Act, once signed into law, will make the budget process more transparent and accessible to the American people. This commonsense legislation requires all federal agency budget justifications to be located in one centralized, searchable website. This will allow the American people to understand how their taxpayer dollars will be spent and hold the government and its vast bureaucracy accountable. I appreciate the leadership of Congressman Quigley and Senators Peters and Portman, and I look forward to the President finally signing this legislation into law now that the Senate has acted,” said Representative Comer. 

“Our constituents should know how Congress is spending their tax dollars. Making the Congressional Budget Justification Transparency Act the law of the land is one critical step toward making our federal government more transparent and accessible,” said Representative Quigley. “I’m thrilled to see this legislation heading to the President’s desk. I hope that providing Americans with access to this information will help rebuild the public’s trust in our government.” 

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 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.