U.S. Senator Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., joined a bipartisan coalition of senators today to introduce a bill that would require every federal agency to produce an annual report card for each of its programs. Led by Senator Tom Coburn, M.D., R-Okla., the “Taxpayers Right to Know Act” would require each government program to be identified and described. This would include the total administrative costs of a program, expenditures for services, number of beneficiaries who receive assistance from the program, and an estimate of the number of staff who administers the program; including contractor staff. A House version of the bill, authored by Representative James Lankford, R-Okla., passed late last month.
“The federal government wastes money hand over fist, but we don’t always know where. If we can track the money then we can prioritize and get rid of the worst first,” said Senator Enzi. “At a time when the national debt is more than $17 trillion we need to take every opportunity to inject more transparency into the federal bureaucracy and find out what’s working and what is not. Our bill will go a long way to target the waste and duplication that is so rampant across our government.”
“Good-government bills like this are precisely what the American people want to see from Congress,” Dr. Coburn said. “With at least $200 billion wasted on duplication across the government every year, Congress needs to demand accountability and transparency from the federal bureaucracy. Sadly, most agencies don’t even know how many programs they administer. This bill will change that by requiring agencies to document their programs and activities. I am pleased the House has already passed this commonsense measure and am hopeful Senate Majority Leader Reid does not block consideration of this bipartisan Senate bill.”
The bill is also cosponsored by Sens. Kelly Ayotte, (R-NH), Mark Begich (D-AK), Richard Burr (R-NC), Saxby Chambliss (R-GA), Susan Collins (R-ME), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Jeff Flake (R-AZ), Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Jim Inhofe (R-OK), Ron Johnson (R-WI), John McCain (R-AZ), Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Rand Paul (R-KY), Tim Scott (R-SC), Jim Risch (R-ID), David Vitter (R-LA), and Mark Warner (D-VA).
This bill would address this 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.