Quigley, Comer Legislation to Improve Transparency of Government Spending Passes House
Today, bipartisan legislation introduced by U.S. Representatives Mike Quigley (D-IL) and James Comer (R-KY), the Congressional Budget Justification Transparency Act, to increase access to transparency regarding the federal government’s expenditure of taxpayer dollars, passed the U.S. House of Representatives by a vote of 412-2. Quigley reintroduced the Congressional Budget Justification Transparency Act for the 117th Congress on the first day of the new Congress after previously introducing the legislation in October 2019. In the 116th Congress, this bill passed the House with overwhelming support.
Congressional budget justifications are explanations of how agencies propose to spend money that they request from Congressional appropriators. While each agency produces an annual congressional budget justification, they are not often made publicly available.
“Americans are entitled to know how their taxpayer dollars are being spent and it shouldn’t be a struggle to find that information. We can dramatically increase the transparency of the federal government just by making Congressional budget justifications easily accessible in a single centralized location,” said Quigley. “By giving the American people this information, we can improve trust in the government and empower Americans with the knowledge that their taxpayer dollars are being used efficiently to invest in their communities.”
“Given the trillions of dollars the federal government spends annually, Congress and the American people must have full access to the hundreds of detailed budget plans each federal agency prepares in support of the President’s annual budget request. The Congressional Budget Justification Transparency Act assures centralized and consistent open access to the federal government’s detailed spending plans, helping to increase public transparency and Congressional oversight. With this information at the fingertips of every American, we will be in a better position to rein in spending and ensure taxpayer dollars are used as efficiently and effectively as possible. I appreciate Congressman Mike Quigley for introducing this spending transparency legislation,” said House Committee on Oversight and Reform Ranking Member James Comer (R-Ky.).
The Congressional Budget Justification Transparency Act will improve government transparency by requiring federal agencies to post their congressional budget justifications on a centralized, searchable website, including on each agency’s own website. This bill 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.
“It's no secret that federal agencies routinely request money from Congress and it should not take a detective to find their proposals,” said Daniel Schuman, policy director, Demand Progress. “We applaud Rep. Quigley for re-introducing the Congressional Budget Justification Transparency Act and the House for passing it so we can finally take the mystery out of agency spending requests by placing them all online in a central location."