Sens. Scott and Coburn introduce Taxpayers Right to Know Act

  • Friday, March 21, 2014

Washington– U.S. Senator Tim Scott (R-SC) today joined Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) in introducing the “Taxpayers Right to Know Act,” a bill that would require every federal agency to produce an annual report card for each of its programs. The bill requires each government program to be identified and described, including the total administrative costs of the program, expenditures for services, number of beneficiaries who receive assistance from the program, and an estimate of the number of staff, including contractors, who administers the program.

“For too long, Congress has directed money from the pockets of hardworking Americans into nearly opaque federal agencies, where its efficacy and use were nearly impossible to track,” Senator Scott said. “We cannot credibly talk about getting our fiscal house in order without addressing the $200 billion spent in waste and duplication in our government each year, and this bill would take a commonsense step in requiring agencies to document their programs, activities, and administrative costs. The American people deserve to know where their money is going, and I am hopeful that Senator Reid will allow this bill to see the light of day with a vote on the Senate floor.”

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to consolidate duplicative and overlapping programs, eliminate waste and inefficiency, and terminate lower priority, outdated and unnecessary programs. A House version of the bill, authored by Representative James Lankford (R-OK), passed late last month.

In addition to Senators Coburn and Scott, the bill is 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), Mike Enzi (R-WY), 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), Jim Risch (R-ID), David Vitter (R-LA), and Mark Warner (D-VA).

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