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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3 years ago

While investigations are nice, let’s get on to the business of shutting down some of these federal agencies that spend billions of taxpayer dollars and produce very little in return. I’m a retired senior and I’ve had to do this with my own personal budget. Won’t hurt the government to do the same thing!! Let’s get-r-done!! Enough talk already!!

Gary Friedenbach
3 years ago

if Trump would drain the swamp as promised we would not have all of this excessive and duplicate overspending!

3 years ago

After learning about the loans the SBA is handing out to hedge funds and celebrities, it is time to address this government waste and what looks like corruption. However, reading information is one thing; doing something about it is another. The idea of an audit is a good one but yes, it should be from a private entity.

3 years ago

Maybe they could expose once and for all the perks of setting in congress, i.e. Health benefits, retirement etc. and how effective this money spent effects their performance. perhaps this would also expose how once you become an elected official your IQ expands at least four fold!!

Bob L.
3 years ago

There should have been annual audits every year from the beginning.
Another “money pit” that has cost the U.S. taxpayers untold trillions since it was created also needs to be audited. The private banking cartel that hides behind it’s false name – the FED.

Johnny W.F.
3 years ago

There are departments that can be eliminated altogether, number 1 is the department of education. Give it back the states where it needs to be. I read a report years ago that there is so much duplication in Wash. its ridiculous. It was like 8 people doing the same job. Fire 7 and keep the one that’s working.

3 years ago

Unless this bill does something about all the waste it’s a wast of time. I want to see a complete audit of the federal government that also gets rid of useless agencies and programs.
Eternity exists in our government and heaven

Lewis Steele
3 years ago

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

Glenn Lego
3 years ago
Reply to  Lewis Steele

The only problem being common sense is not so common anymore.

3 years ago

I remember Senator Coburn’s work and how frustrated I was that no one would get serious about this clear duplicate problem. Glad it is finally happening!!!

Brenda Blunt
3 years ago

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!!

Glenn Lego
3 years ago
Reply to  Brenda Blunt

Think about foxes guarding the hen house and you’ll get the picture.

3 years ago

Yes, do an audit like most public companies, cities, schools, etc. do determine what is needed & not needed. Did not understand the part about GAO finding duplicate actions in 2019 & then saying $216 Billion accrued from 2010-2018 ??? Why is this accrued ???

3 years ago

Well make sure you remove the illegals that are draining our resources and the muslums that are draining our resources the ones you vile politicians protect then the generational welfare lazy asses, my husband worked over 60 years paid into these programs we can’t even get food stamps thanks to Obamacare we lost our free insurance and medicine he worked for you gov. pigs owe us over $ 70thousand dollars our nest egg gone how about paying us all that you disgraceful politicians took from us for an illegal act that should have cost everyone of you you jobs all benefits revoked security clearance

Bernadette DiAntonio
3 years ago

This is long overdue. Everyone should call their Senators and Representatives to pass this

3 years ago

Create a giant Excel spreadsheet. On the top left cell, heading downwards, list every government agency. Then on every left-to-right cell, enter every single major adjective word that describes that agency’s meaning. When done, find out how many agencies are sharing words, and the more shared words the better. Now let’s say we find 4 agencies that share 15 adjectives. Wouldn’t that tell us that perhaps we’ve got 3 more agencies (for that realm) than we need?

Bernadette DiAntonio
3 years ago
Reply to  Pat

Great plan Pat!

3 years ago

Just another action by politicians to make it appear they are doing something leading up to an election to eliminate government fraud and waste. Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) and the GAO have been doing this for years, but Congress NEVER DOES ANYTHING!
Senator Tom Coburn tried to do something for years, but Congress wasn’t interested. Before him, Senator Proxmire tried to shame Congress into doing something with his annual “Golden Fleece Awards” to no avail.
Our Congress is nothing but a bunch of do-nothing blowhards only interested in getting re-elected, nothing else.
My favorite quote is “Politicians and diapers NEED changing frequently for the same reason.”
Article 5 Constitutional convention needed NOW to term limit ALL in Washington. Has your state passed resolution. Georgia was first.

Barbara Wellington
3 years ago

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?

Frederick P Regina
3 years ago

Great idea

Richard Alan Symons
3 years ago

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.?

Eltpn Yancey
3 years ago

That would be very interesting to see.

Phil Hammersley
3 years ago

I believe that there is but don’t know where to find it. I’ve heard those figures for certain states like “For each dollar of federal taxes State X gets so many dollars.” Some states get a disproportinate amount of federal dollars.

3 years ago

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.

Jean Barnes
3 years ago

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

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