DearColleague.us

Letter

Mike Quigley

From the office of:

Mike Quigley

Sending Office: Honorable Mike Quigley
Sent By:
Hannah.Mansbach@mail.house.gov

Cosponsor the Congressional Budget Justification Transparency Act of 2019

Sponsored By: Reps. Quigley (D-IL) and Doug Collins (R-GA)

Senate Companion led by Sens. Gary Peters (D-MI) and Rob Portman (R-OH)

Endorsed by: Beeck Center for Social Impact + Innovation at Georgetown University, Campaign for Accountability, Campaign for Liberty, Center for Responsive Politics, Center for Science and Democracy at the Union of Concerned
Scientists, Coalition to Reduce Spending, Data Coalition, Demand Progress, Free Government Information, Government Accountability Project, Government Information Watch, GovTrack.us, Lincoln Network, National Freedom of Information Coalition, National LGBTQ
Task Force Action Fund, National Security Archive, National Taxpayers Union, Open the Government, Project On Government Oversight, R Street Institute, Senior Executives Association, Society of Professional Journalists, TechFreedom

Cosponsors: Higgins (NY), Norton, Steube, Harder, Axne

Dear Colleague:

Congressional budget justifications are plain-language explanations of how agencies propose to spend money that they request Congress to appropriate. In 2018 and 2019, Congress encouraged OMB to publish all executive branch congressional budget justification
materials on a centralized web portal.  Recent OMB guidance also required executive branch agencies to post their budget justification materials online. 

However, there is no legal requirement for congressional budget justifications to be posted on a centralized web portal or on agency websites. Agencies are inconsistent in post congressional budget justifications online, and no centralized website hosts
the materials. Accordingly, congressional budget justifications can be difficult to access because they are scattered across the internet.

In addition, there is no public list documenting which agencies and sub-agencies are required to submit congressional budget justifications or confirming when materials are submitted to Congress. This makes it challenging to identify which executive branch
agencies are required to submit congressional budget justifications, let alone know whether the materials for an agency exist.

Recently, USASpending.gov published budgetary resources for approximately 100 agencies. The webpage includes links to some, but not all, agency budget justification materials.  While this is a positive step, it remains incomplete and insufficient. Because
USASpending.gov is not publishing the documents, the links are subject to rot whenever agency websites are updated or redesigned. It is also unclear whether the portal will maintain historical records of congressional budget justification material. Furthermore,
there is no way to confirm that USASpending.gov’s webpage is comprehensive. 

How this bill addresses the problem:

  • This bill amends the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006 to require congressional budget justifications be made publicly available on a centralized, searchable website starting with the second fiscal year after enactment and moving
    forward. It also encourages older congressional budget justifications to be added to the database to the maximum extent possible. Agencies would also be required to publish congressional budget justifications on their website.
  • The bill also requires OMB to maintain a regularly updated public list of agencies expected to submit congressional budget justifications, the date of submission of the materials to Congress and when they are posted online, and a link to the documents on
    the agency website.

All information and materials would be required to be posted in a machine readable and text searchable format.  

For more information or to become an original cosponsor, please contact Hannah Mansbach in Rep. Quigley’s office at Hannah.Mansbach@mail.house.gov or Dan Ashworth in Rep. Collins’ office at Daniel.Ashworth@mail.house.gov.

Sincerely,

MIKE QUIGLEY

MEMBER OF CONGRESS 

DOUG COLLINS

MEMBER OF CONGRESS

Related Legislative Issues

Selected legislative information: Budget, Economy, Ethics and Standards, Finance, Government

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