WASHINGTON (August 24, 2021)––Members of the Power of the Purse Coalition applaud House passage of S. 272, the Congressional Budget Justification Transparency Act of 2021. This bipartisan bill would require the Office of Management and Budget to maintain a central repository of annual budget requests for Congress or Congressional Justifications (CJs).
CJs are an essential source of information both for Congress and the public about how, where and why taxpayer dollars are being spent. Inconsistent formatting, late submissions, website changes between administrations and non-compliance with posting requirements can make this data difficult to access and track.
The group extends our special thanks to Sens. Gary Peters (D-Mich.), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Tom Carper (D-Del.), John Cornyn (R-Texas) and Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), as well as Reps. Mike Quigley (D-Ill.) and James Comer (R-Kent.), for their leadership on S. 272 and H.R. 22.
“The Congressional Budget Justifications Transparency Act is a good idea whose time has finally come, with passage of that measure by the Senate and last night by the House,” said Daniel Schuman, policy director at Demand Progress. “At long last, the plain-language explanation of agency proposals for how they would spend requested appropriations dollars will be available all in one place in perpetuity, bringing much needed transparency and accountability that will help people inside and outside government. We commend Reps. Quigley and Comer and Sens. Peters and Portman for pushing through this legislation.”
National Taxpayers Union (NTU)
“Congress and the public deserve easy access to a complete view of the executive branch’s budget requests. The Congressional Budget Justification Transparency Act, which has long earned bipartisan and cross-ideological support, is a major step in the direction of more transparency and more accountability for the sprawling collection of federal departments and agencies,” said NTU’s Director of Federal Policy Andrew Lautz.
Project on Government Oversight
“Congress cannot make good decisions without good information,” said Dylan Hedtler-Gaudette, government affairs manager at the Project On Government Oversight (POGO). “And if Congress is to be a responsible steward of public dollars, it is essential that it has access to critical information about how federal agencies intend to spend appropriated funds and the justifications for those decisions. That is why POGO has supported the Congressional Budget Justification Transparency Act for a long time and why we were so pleased to see it finally passed by Congress and sent to the President’s desk. We now urge President Joe Biden to sign this bill into law and help create a more accountable and transparent federal budget process that meets the needs and expectations of the American people.”
“Ensuring the public and the Congress have basic information about how federal agencies are spending our tax dollars is essential to the strength of our democracy,” said Cerin Lindgrensavage, Counsel at Protect Democracy. “We applaud passage of the Congressional Budget Justification Transparency Act. Making this information not just available but easier to access and understand will also help Congress fulfill its constitutional obligation to act as a check and balance to the executive branch.”
R Street Institute
“After a false-start last Congress, it is encouraging to see this important measure move to the President’s desk,” Nan Swift, a fellow with R Street’s Governance Program stated. “Congressional justifications are where the Executive and Legislative branches intersect on an annual basis, forming the cornerstone of the budget process and congressional oversight. By passing S. 272, Congress is making available a fundamental tool that will enhance transparency and government accountability. This is a key step forward in the fight to restore Congress’ Power of the Purse.”
Taxpayers for Common Sense
“Information is power. Putting all federal agency budget justification materials in one spot, and making it searchable, is a big step forward in granting all citizens access to information on how the government is spending our money,” said Joshua Sewell, a senior policy analyst at Taxpayers for Common Sense (TCS). “At TCS we know how hard it can be to find that information. The House of Representatives, particularly the sponsors Rep. Quigley (D-Ill.) and Rep. Comer (R-Ky.), are to be commended for this common-sense action.”