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Quigley, Collins Introduce Legislation to Increase Access to Congressional Budget Justifications

Oct 29, 2019
Press Release

U.S. Representatives Mike Quigley (IL-05) and Doug Collins (GA-09) introduced the Congressional Budget Justification Transparency Act (H.R. 4894), which gives the public access to how the federal government spends taxpayer dollars. This bill would improve government transparency by requiring federal agencies to post their congressional budget justifications on a centralized, searchable website, including each agency’s own website.

Congressional budget justifications are plain-language explanations of how agencies propose to spend money that they request from congressional appropriators. Each agency produces an annual congressional budget justification but these documents are often not made publicly available. The Congressional Budget Justification Transparency Act would also direct OMB to keep an updated list of agencies that are expected to submit budget justifications, the date of their submission to Congress, the date the justification is posted online, and a link to the materials.

“Today, congressional budget justifications are incredibly hard to find. This information is in numerous and confusing places across the internet, making it challenging to identify which agencies are required to submit justifications, let alone know whether the materials for an agency exist,” said Quigley. “This bill would provide an opportunity to conduct better oversight of our government and allow the public to learn about what agencies are doing with their hard-earned tax dollars.”

“Each year, Georgians entrust the government with their hard-earned tax dollars, but they’re left in the dark on where that money actually goes,” said Collins. “By requiring federal agencies to regularly publish budget justifications on one central website, the Congressional Budget Justification Transparency Act will ensure hardworking Americans have access to the information needed to evaluate how their tax dollars are being spent.”

“Congressional budget justifications are the decoder ring for federal agency budget requests and Reps. Mike Quigley and Doug Collins have wisely introduced legislation to make sure that everyone can crack the code,” said Daniel Schuman, Policy Director at Demand Progress. “The Congressional Budget Justification Transparency Act will require, for the first time ever, that the government keeps track of all agency spending plan explanations, whether they've been provided to Congress, and make them available at a central location for everyone to read.”

This bill is sponsored in the Senate by Senators Gary Peters (D-MI) and Rob Portman (R-OH).