U.S. House Unanimously Passes Spanberger-Cosponsored Bill to Increase Transparency & Accountability in Federal Spending

The Bipartisan Taxpayers Right-to-Know Act Would Require the Federal Government to Publish a Public Inventory of Each Federal Agency’s Spending

WASHINGTON, D.C. —The U.S. House of Representatives today unanimously passed a bipartisan, bicameral bill that U.S. Representative Abigail Spanberger cosponsored to shine a light on federal spending and to help identify instances of wasteful government programs.

The Taxpayers Right-to-Know Act would require the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to publish an online inventory of each federal agency’s programs. This inventory would also provide a description of these programs, as well as information about the program’s costs and performance. This legislation has passed the House in each of the last three Congresses, and Spanberger cosponsored the bill in October 2019.

“Central Virginia taxpayers should be able to see how their tax dollars are being spent—and they should have the ability to identify which programs could be contributing to waste, fraud, and abuse,” said Spanberger. “Our bipartisan bill would build a comprehensive and transparent online federal inventory to give the American people more information about the price tags of specific federal programs. With this new data at taxpayers’ fingertips, lawmakers and the public could better hold federal agencies accountable for any duplicative or egregiously expensive programs. I’m proud to see our legislation unanimously pass in the House today, and I strongly encourage the Senate to stand with taxpayers and quickly send this bill to the President’s desk.”

The Taxpayers Right-To-Know Act would require federal agencies to report on their federal program activities and provide that information to the OMB to be published online as a complete inventory of the federal government’s programs.

Specifically, the program inventory would identify key financial information including:

  • The program’s administrative budget and how those funds are allocated,
  • The total amount appropriated, obligated, and outlayed for services,
  • The intended population served by the program,
  • Performance reviews for the program, including any Inspector General or Government Accountability Office reports,
  • The authorizing statute and any major rules or regulations related to the program, and
  • Other information to increase transparency to taxpayers.

The Taxpayers Right-to-Know Act is led by U.S. Representatives Tim Walberg (R-MI-07) and Jim Cooper (D-TN-05). A companion bill in the U.S. Senate is led by U.S. Senators James Lankford (R-OK) and Maggie Hassan (D-NH).

BACKGROUND

Spanberger has repeatedly called on lawmakers to address the national debt, increase transparency in the federal budget process, and chart a pathway toward a balanced budget. In July 2019, she voted against a budget bill that would have increased the U.S. national debt by nearly $2 trillion.

In September 2019, Spanberger urged U.S. House leaders to recommit to the principle of fiscal responsibility and abide by Congressional Pay-As-You-Go (PAYGO) budget rules. PAYGO budget rules make sure that any legislation that might increase the federal deficit is offset.

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