12.08.11

The ‘Taxpayers Right to Know Act’ Introduced in Both Chambers of Congress

Washington, D.C. - Yesterday afternoon, Senator Richard Burr (R-NC) joined a bipartisan group of Senators to introduce the Taxpayers Right to Know Act, a bill to increase accountability and efficiency in government by requiring every federal agency to provide an annual report card for each of its programs detailing how taxpayer dollars are being spent.

This billwas introduced with bipartisan support in both chambers of Congress by lead sponsors Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) and Congressman James Lankford (R-OK). This bill would require each government program to be identified and described in order to pinpoint and reduce duplicative programs and cut back on wasteful spending. The report card would also shed light on unnecessary or reckless spending by outlining the total administrative costs, expenditures for services, number of beneficiaries who receive assistance, and an estimate of the number of staff who administer each program.

"The American people deserve to know where their hard-earned money goes when they send it to Washington," Senator Burr said. "With all the waste and abuse that occurs at the federal level, it is no wonder the American people don't trust Washington with their tax dollars. We must increase accountability in government spending, and this bill will take a big step towards accomplishing that."

The Government Accountability Office released a report earlier this year that found "overlap and fragmentation among government programs or activities can be harbingers of unnecessary duplication. Reducing or eliminating duplication, overlap, or fragmentation could potentially save billions of taxpayer dollars annually and help agencies provide more efficient and effective services." President Obama also addressed this issue in budget requests for 2012 and in his State of the Union Address this year where he suggested consolidating and reorganizing the federal government to make America more competitive.

This bill would further address overlap and unnecessary duplication by also requiring the following: a listing of other programs within the federal government with duplicative or overlapping missions and services; the latest performance reviews for the program, including the metrics used to review the program; the latest improper payment rate for the program, including fraudulent payments; and the total amount of unspent and unobligated program funds held by the agency and grant recipients. This information would be updated annually and posted on-line, along with recommendations from the agency to consolidate duplicative and overlapping programs, eliminate waste and inefficiency, and terminate lower priority, outdated and unnecessary programs.

Other original co-sponsors of the bill include Senators Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Jim DeMint (R-SC), Mark Begich (D-AK), John McCain (R-AZ), Rand Paul (R-KY), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Daniel Coats (R-IN), Michael Enzi (R-WY), Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), Dean Heller (R-NV) and Orrin Hatch (R-UT).

Additional co-sponsors include Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), and Senators John Thune (R-SD), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Ron Johnson (R-WI), Mike Lee (R-R-UT), John Boozman (R-AR), John Hoeven (R-ND), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), John Cornyn (R-TX), David Vitter (R-LA), Jon Kyl (R-AZ), Pat Toomey (R-PA), James Risch (R-ID), Roger Wicker (R-MS), James Inhofe (R-OK), John Barrasso (R-WY), Jeff Sessions (R-AL), and Saxby Chambliss (R-GA).