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Tim W.
Republican MI 7

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  • Taxpayers Right-to-Know Act

    by Representative Tim Walberg

    Posted on 2016-01-11

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    WALBERG. Mr. Speaker, I thank the chairman.

    Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of H.R. 598, the Taxpayers Right-To-Know Act. This bill is a bipartisan and bicameral effort to provide more information about Federal programs and their activities online.

    I want to thank my colleague Jim Cooper for all his work in pushing this legislation forward.

    The American people deserve to know what their government does with their hard-earned dollars, don't you think? H.R. 598 will make it easier to evaluate Federal Government spending by requiring Federal agencies to identify their programs and provide basic information like what their programs do, how they perform, and how much they cost. Agencies must do a better job of managing their programs and identifying areas where taxpayer dollars are wasted.

    The Government Accountability Office is tasked with reporting on duplication and continues to find new areas of duplication across government. Over 5 years, GAO has identified 106 areas of duplication, overlap, and fragmentation; moreover, they identified an additional 72 areas for potential cost savings. While only 37 percent of recommended corrective actions have been taken, GAO estimates that these actions have saved the Federal Government and the taxpayer about $20 billion.

    While GAO's work has been invaluable, their ability to look comprehensively at the Federal Government is inherently limited because of the poor reporting by agencies about their activity. Quite simply, without better data, billions more will be lost and wasted.

    Current law, specifically, the Government Performance and Results Modernization Act, requires agencies to report all their programs, their funding, and their performance information to the Office of Management and Budget. However, OMB's current inventory is incomplete and provides inconsistent information. This makes it more difficult and time consuming to identify areas of waste and inefficiency.

    H.R. 598 establishes an across-the-board definition of ``program'' and requires the publication of detailed information on each Federal program. This change will allow American taxpayers and Federal watchdogs to better evaluate the effectiveness and utility of government programs.

    The Taxpayers Right-To-Know Act is an important and necessary step forward for the government in providing programs that are accountable, effective, and efficient.

    Mr. Speaker, I want to thank Senator Lankford for his work on the Senate companion bill.

    Mr. Speaker, I urge my colleagues to support this legislation.

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