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Bipartisan Senate Coalition Wants Inventory of All Federal Programs

government Capitol Trump federal payroll jobs bipartisan senate federalA coalition of six Republican and three Democratic senators wants officials to inventory the costs, goals, and performance of all federal programs, then post the resulting database on the internet.

The co-sponsors of the Taxpayers Right to Know Act of 2019 include Senate Republicans James Lankford (Okla.), Joni Ernst (Iowa), Ron Johnson (Wis.), Mike Enzi (Wyo.), John Cornyn (Texas), and Rand Paul (Ky.), as well as Democrats Jon Tester (Mont.), Maggie Hassan (N.H.), and Kyrsten Sinema (Ariz).

The purpose of the proposal is to “provide taxpayers with an improved understanding of government programs through the disclosure of cost, performance, and areas of duplication among them, leverage existing data to achieve a functional Federal program inventory,” according to the bill’s text.

The proposal is also supported by the Data Coalition (DC), a large group of private sector companies in the technology, data management, and data analyses sectors.

The DC lobbies Congress to make all government data “accessible, high-quality, and usable to enhance accountability, improve government effectiveness, reduce compliance costs, and stimulate innovation.”

“This is common sense legislation that will enable the American people to know how their tax dollars are being spent and the effectiveness of each program,” Lankford said after the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs approved the bill July 24 and sent it to the full Senate. A final Senate vote hasn’t been scheduled.

A previous version of the bill was approved unanimously by the House of Representatives in 2017, but didn’t pass the Senate. Variations of the proposal have been introduced in Congress since 2011, when Lankford was a member of the House. Lankford’s predecessor in the Senate, Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), introduced the bill in the Senate that year.

If the proposal becomes law, it would represent the latest advance of an informal bipartisan movement that began early in the 2000s and first saw success with passage of the Federal Financial Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006 (FFATA). President George W. Bush signed FFATA into law.

The FFATA resulted in the creation of USASpending.gov, a federal database that puts about 70 percent of all federal expenditures within a few mouse clicks for anybody with access to the internet.

The FFATA was co-sponsored by Coburn and then-Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), and was pushed by a coalition of advocacy groups led by Gary Bass, then of OMB Watch and now with the Bauman Foundation, and William Beach, then of the Heritage Foundation and now head of the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Coburn, who served three terms in the House and two in the Senate before retiring at the end of the 113th Congress in 2015, was unofficially known as “Senator No” in the nation’s capital, thanks to his stubborn advocacy of transparency and accountability to combat waste and fraud in federal spending.

Ernst released a statement Aug. 9 saying she supports the proposal because “Iowans deserve to know how their hard-earned money is being spent; that’s just common sense. This bipartisan legislation will bring overdue transparency for Iowa taxpayers and will help identify ways to make our government more efficient.”

Ernst was first elected to the Senate in 2014 on a promise that she would go to Washington to fight the politicians and bureaucrats responsible for wasteful spending, and “make them squeal.” She is seeking a second term in 2020.

The transparency in government movement was also behind the annual report produced by the Government Accounting Office (GAO) since 2011 “to reduce fragmentation, overlap, and duplication in federal spending.”

The GAO—the investigative arm of the legislative branch—has identified more than 800 actions that Congress and the executive branch could take to eliminate duplicative federal programs, the agency said in its 2019 report.

“As of March 2019, Congress and executive branch agencies have fully addressed 436 actions (54 percent) and partially addressed 185 actions (23 percent),” the GAO stated.

“This has resulted in approximately $262 billion in financial benefits. About $216 billion of these benefits accrued between 2010 and 2018 and $46 billion are projected to accrue in future years,” the agency said.

Reprinted with permission from - The Epoch Times - by Mark Tapscott

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Wayne D Peterkin

While I strongly agree with the effort, Citizens Against Government Waste already publishes some of this data including an evaluation of all duplicative and wasteful government programs. The sum of them all is a lot of money! I have been asking for years to have every single government department and agency thoroughly audited by an outside auditor. It would take a number of years to do them all, it’s a big effort. But that kind of audit with results publicly published is needed for transparency and should be a rotating, periodic requirement by law. Perhaps once every 10 years for each. Note that outside, reputable auditing firms must do the work, not the deep state. The people have a right to know where all our tax money goes and how much is wasted.

Delwin Hyatt

It’s called an AUDIT, should be done every year. This should be EVERYONES desire no matter your party.

Tommy

It’d be nice to rid ourselves of half of these.

PaulE

Sounds like a glorified means for Congress to steer a big government contract to the members of Data Coalition (DC) under the guise of fostering “transparency”. Congress is already responsible for funding of every federal government agency or department, so they should already know what each program within each of these agencies and departments is for and whether it is worth funding in the first place. Congress is already responsible, at least in theory if they do the jobs that we pay them for, to cut government waste, duplication and inefficiency. The American public, at least the small percentage that bothers to read existing GAO reports on where our taxpayer dollars are wasted on a annual basis, already know how many hundreds of billions of dollars are wasted annually. As for the rest of the American public, they wouldn’t take the time or effort to read the report generated by… Read more »

Hdrydr

It will never happen. Too much waste will be out in the open. It’s a GREAT IDEA!!! That’s why it won’t happen. Politicians, both the Democraps, and the RINO’s have a lot to hide from the taxpayers. If people only realized the whole scope of what is being done with their tax payer money, there could be a revolt. The “hired help” forgot that their job is to act in the best interests of American citizens.

Concerned

I understand that the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs approved the “Taxpayers Right to Know Act of 2019”, bill on July 24 and sent it to the full Senate, but a final Senate vote hasn’t been scheduled. Mitch, we need this bill to move to the full Senate for a vote. I know of your current issues, but this is important and we wonder why this idea has been held up for so long. Please get on it. Thanks, as we will be watching.

Stephen Russell

LONG overdue & divide from Defense to other depts.
See CAGW.org for Info alone.
& then make Deep Cuts.
Or nothing changes

Brian Monson

In addition . . . eradicate several Federal departments and agencies that are NOT allowed (not specified) by the Constitution . . . per the TENTH Amendment . . .

Jack

Why is this only brought to light in election years?

anna hubert

What took 50 years?

Jean Barnes

When I read this I laughed because even if it happens I wouldn’t believe it.

James Howard

Just keep doing these kind of fraudulent time & money wasting congressional smokescreen & we just lose more of the country in the process.

Patty

Excellent plan! I love transparency. It’s something lacking in our government.

Barbara Wellington

Isn’t this something President Trump asked for when he took office–to reduce the number of government departments, duplication, and wasteful spending? It seems long overdue. It’s too bad Democrats and some Republicans (RINOs) refuse to work collaboratively on behalf of the American people instead of resisting and obstructing our president.

Where’s the accountability for the wasteful spending for all the Democrat resistance efforts that we taxpayers don’t want but are forced to pay for?

Ron

Well Congress does this every few years & does any of this duplication get handled? When President George W. Bush came into office there were 385 duplicate laws that Congress passed! Does anyone do anything about it? Now this new group is talking about it! I certainly hope so! The Federal Gov. is one of the worst Managed Governments! If I I ran my business’s life me that, I wouldn’t of stayed in business for the 19 years that I ran it until retirement! LET DO IT NEW GROUP SHOW US SOMETHING FOR OURMONEY!

Lynn

Like crowd funding and crowd sourcing, there with be helpful input from the masses but to find it they’ll have to dig through all the hateful and/or useless input.
Great start.

Richard Alan Symons

Is there a study showing how much revenue each State generates for the Federal Government versus how much the Federal Government distributes to each State broken down by category such as highway funds, other infrastructure funds, education, health care, pork barrel spending, etc.?

Lewis Steele

This is a common sense piece of legislation. It should have been passed a long time ago.

Brenda Blunt

This is nice; however, what about the other stuff that Congress pulls?!! Congress needs to check their spending when they start accusing and insist on an investigation that turns out to be a waste of time and money!!

r steinberg

I agree