Coalition to Congress: Increase Accountability, Stop Funding Zombie Programs
Dear Representative McMorris Rodgers:
On behalf of the undersigned organizations, we write in support of H.R. 2505, the Unauthorized Spending Accountability (USA) Act. This sensible proposal would help empower Congress to better exercise its power of the purse by requiring the periodic authorization of federal programs. We strongly believe this legislation will bring fiscal sanity back to the budget process and we urge Congress to swiftly pass the USA Act into law.
According to the Congressional Budget Office, for fiscal year (FY) 2019, Congress has appropriated $306.8 billion to 971 programs and activities that are no longer authorized. That equates to nearly one-quarter of the discretionary budget. Regardless of the merits of these programs, it is undeniable that they are being funded without sufficient oversight and accountability. The USA Act would create a mechanism that forces congressional committees to take charge of the expenditures within their jurisdiction. After the enactment of this bill, unauthorized programs would see their budgets reduced by 10 percent in the first year, and 15 percent in each of the following two years, after which they would be completely sunset. These spending reductions would be applied to the overall federal discretionary budget.
Congress is already required by rule to authorize programs before appropriating funds. However, due to widespread and longstanding waivers of this rule, the two oldest unauthorized programs date back to the 95th and 96th Congress. The USA Act would help end the longstanding neglect of the authorization process.
Your legislation also includes important accountability measures that pertain to mandatory spending, which comprises nearly two-thirds of the federal budget. It would create a Spending Accountability Commission tasked with conducting comprehensive reviews of federal programs funded by mandatory spending. In the event Congress cannot agree on whether an unauthorized program should continue, the commission could propose reductions in mandatory spending to offset any unauthorized programs remaining on the books. This mechanism would provide Congress with additional flexibility as it seeks to improve the effectiveness of government spending.
Again, we commend you on your thoughtful approach to increasing accountability, which will result in reducing unnecessary federal spending. Our organizations are pleased to endorse the USA Act, and we hope all Members of Congress will join you in working toward its swift passage.
National Taxpayers Union
60 Plus Association
Americans for a Balanced Budget
Americans for Limited Government
Americans for Prosperity
Americans for Tax Reform
Campaign for Liberty
Coalition to Reduce Spending
Competitive Enterprise Institute
Council for Citizens Against Government Waste
Hispanic Leadership Fund
Independent Women’s Voice
R Street Institute
Taxpayers for Common Sense
Taxpayers Protection Alliance
Tea Party Nation
Rhode Island Center for Freedom and Prosperity