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112th Congress Rept. 112-635
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
2d Session Part 1
TAXPAYERS RIGHT-TO-KNOW ACT
July 31, 2012.--Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the
State of the Union and ordered to be printed
Mr. Issa, from the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform,
submitted the following
R E P O R T
[To accompany H.R. 3609]
[Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]
The Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, to whom was
referred the bill (H.R. 3609) to provide taxpayers with an
annual report disclosing the cost of, performance by, and areas
for improvements for Government programs, and for other
purposes, having considered the same, report favorably thereon
with amendments and recommend that the bill as amended do pass.
Committee Statement and Views.................................... 4
Explanation of Amendments........................................ 6
Committee Consideration.......................................... 6
Roll Call Votes.................................................. 6
Application of Law to the Legislative Branch..................... 7
Statement of Oversight Findings and Recommendations of the
Statement of General Performance Goals and Objectives............ 7
Federal Advisory Committee Act................................... 7
Unfunded Mandate Statement....................................... 7
Committee Estimate............................................... 7
Budget Authority and Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate... 7
Additional Views................................................. 10
The amendments are as follows:
Strike all after the enacting clause and insert the
SEC. 1. SHORT TITLE.
This Act may be cited as the ``Taxpayers Right-To-Know Act''.
SEC. 2. AGENCY REQUIREMENTS RELATING TO ANNUAL REPORT ON THE COST AND
PERFORMANCE OF GOVERNMENT PROGRAMS AND AREAS OF
DUPLICATION AMONG PROGRAMS.
(a) Requirement To Identify and Describe Programs.--On an annual
basis, for purposes of the report required by subsection (b), the head
of each agency shall--
(1) identify and describe every program administered by the
(2) for each such program--
(A) determine the total administrative expenses of
(B) determine the expenditures for services for the
(C) estimate the number of clients served by the
program and beneficiaries who received assistance under
the program (if applicable); and
(i) the number of full-time employees who
administer the program; and
(ii) the number of full-time equivalents
(whose salary is paid in part or full by the
Federal Government through a grant or contract,
a subaward of a grant or contract, a
cooperative agreement, or another form of
financial award or assistance) who assist in
administering the program; and
(3) identify programs within the agency with duplicative or
overlapping missions, services, and allowable uses of funds.
(b) Report.--Not later than February 1 of each fiscal year, the head
of each agency shall create a link on the homepage of the official
public website of the agency to a report containing the following:
(1) Identification and description of programs.--The
information required under subsection (a) with respect to the
preceding fiscal year.
(2) Performance reviews.--The latest performance reviews
(including the program performance reports required under
section 1116 of title 31, United States Code) of each program
of the agency identified under subsection (a)(1), including
performance indicators, performance goals, output measures, and
other specific metrics used to review the program and how the
program performed on each.
(3) Improper payment information.--For all programs and
activities that may be susceptible to significant improper
payments, as identified by the head of the agency under section
2(a) of the Improper Payments Information Act of 2002 (31
U.S.C. 321 note), the latest improper payment rate and the
total estimated amount of improper payments during the
preceding fiscal year, including fraudulent payments and
(4) Expired grant funding.--The total amount of undisbursed
grant funding remaining in grant accounts for which the period
of availability to the grantee has expired.
(5) Recommendations.--Such recommendations as the head of the
agency considers appropriate--
(A) to consolidate programs within the agency that
are duplicative or overlapping;
(B) to eliminate waste and inefficiency; and
(C) to terminate lower priority, outdated, and
unnecessary programs and initiatives.
(c) Relationship to Catalog of Domestic Financial Assistance.--With
respect to the requirements of subsections (a)(1) and (a)(2)(B), the
head of an agency may use the same information provided in the Catalog
of Domestic Financial Assistance if applicable.
(d) Format.--Each agency shall make reports required by subsection
(b) available in a searchable, machine-readable format, and shall
expend no funds for the printing of such reports, except when providing
such documents to the Congress.
SEC. 3. OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET REQUIREMENTS RELATING TO ANNUAL
REPORT ON THE COST AND PERFORMANCE OF GOVERNMENT
PROGRAMS AND AREAS OF DUPLICATION AMONG PROGRAMS.
(a) Report by Office of Management and Budget.--Not later than
February 1 of each fiscal year, the Director of the Office of
Management and Budget shall publish on the official public website of
the Office of Management and Budget a report containing the following:
(1) Identification of duplicative programs.--An
identification of programs across agencies with duplicative or
overlapping missions, services, and allowable uses of funds.
(2) Recommendations.--Such recommendations as the Director
(A) to consolidate programs across agencies that are
duplicative or overlapping;
(B) to eliminate waste and inefficiency; and
(C) to terminate lower priority, outdated, and
unnecessary programs and initiatives.
(b) Relationship to President's Budget.--With respect to the
requirements of subsection (a)(2), the Director may use the same
information provided in the President's annual budget submission, if
SEC. 4. DEFINITIONS.
In this Act:
(1) Administrative costs.--The term ``administrative costs''
has the meaning as determined by the Director of the Office of
Management and Budget under section 504(b)(2) of Public Law
111-85 (31 U.S.C. 1105 note), except the term shall also
include, for purposes of that section and this section, with
respect to an agency--
(A) costs incurred by the agency as well as costs
incurred by grantees, subgrantees, and other recipients
of funds from a grant program or other program
administered by the agency; and
(B) expenses related to personnel salaries and
benefits, property management, travel, program
management, promotion, reviews and audits, case
management, and communication about, promotion of, and
outreach for programs and program activities
administered by the agency.
(2) Services.--The term ``services'' has the meaning provided
by the Director of the Office of Management and Budget and
shall be limited to only activities, assistance, and aid that
provide a direct benefit to a recipient, such as the provision
of medical care, assistance for housing or tuition, or
financial support (including grants and loans).
(3) Agency.--The term ``agency'' has the same meaning given
that term in section 551(1) of title 5, United States Code,
except that the term also includes offices in the legislative
branch other than the Government Accountability Office.
(4) Performance indicator, performance goal, output measure,
program activity.--The terms ``performance indicator'',
``performance goal'', ``output measure'', and ``program
activity'' have the meanings provided by section 1115 of title
31, United States Code.
(5) Program.--The term ``program'' has the meaning provided
by the Director of the Office of Management and Budget and
shall include, with respect to an agency, any organized set of
activities directed toward a common purpose or goal undertaken
by the agency that includes services, projects, processes, or
financial or other forms of assistance, including grants,
contracts, cooperative agreements, compacts, loans, leases,
technical support, consultation, or other guidance.
SEC. 5. CLASSIFIED INFORMATION.
Nothing in this Act shall be construed to require the disclosure of
SEC. 6. REGULATIONS AND IMPLEMENTATION.
(a) Regulations.--Not later than 120 days after the date of the
enactment of this Act, the Director of the Office of Management and
Budget shall prescribe regulations to implement this Act.
(b) Implementation.--This Act shall be implemented beginning with the
first full fiscal year occurring after the date of the enactment of
Amend the title so as to read:
A bill to provide taxpayers with an annual report disclosing the
cost and performance of Government programs and areas of duplication
COMMITTEE STATEMENT AND VIEWS
PURPOSE AND SUMMARY
H.R. 3609, the Taxpayers Right-To-Know Act, is designed to
significantly reduce waste, misspending, and inefficiency
throughout the Federal Government. The Federal Government
wastes billions of dollars annually by operating programs that
have duplicative, overlapping, or fragmented missions. Some
experts estimate the annual cost of government duplication at
$100 billion or more.
The Taxpayers Right-To-Know Act provides information on
government programs, spending, and duplication. The bill
establishes several reporting requirements for agencies to
better identify inefficiencies. Each agency is required to
catalogue the programs it oversees, providing information on
program cost and costs attributable to administrative overhead.
Each agency is also required to evaluate its programs,
collectively, for duplication and overlap.
Agencies are further required to make recommendations to
consolidate duplicative or overlapping programs, eliminate
waste and inefficiency, and terminate unnecessary, outdated, or
low priority programs. The Office of Management and Budget is
required to issue an annual report identifying duplication of
programs across agencies, and to provide consolidation
recommendations. All the reports and recommendations required
by the bill are to be made available to the public in an
accessible online format.
BACKGROUND AND NEED FOR LEGISLATION
Now more than ever, agencies must do a better job of
managing their programs and identifying areas where taxpayer
dollars are not being used efficiently. The Taxpayers Right-To-
Know Act provides the American people with vital information on
government spending and program management. Access to this
information will help reduce duplication and ensure that the
government is providing services in an efficient manner.
In 2010, Senator Coburn added to a bill raising the Federal
debt limit an amendment requiring the U.S. Government
Accountability Office to report on duplication and overlap
across the Federal Government. Consequently, GAO now submits an
annual report to Congress identifying specific areas of
duplication and ways to realize cost savings.
GAO identified 81 areas of duplication and potential cost
savings in its first report, issued in 2011. This year, it
found 51 new areas of waste and duplication across the Federal
government, identifying billions of dollars of waste that could
easily be prevented. While GAO's recommendations are a start
toward making government more efficient and cost effective,
government agencies are uniquely positioned to also assume
responsibility for identifying unnecessary duplication. It is
the Federal agencies that actually administer programs on a
day-to-day basis. This level of intimacy with individual
programs and their stakeholders provides senior civil servants
at each agency with specialized knowledge that should be
brought to bear in the effort to eliminate program duplication.
The Oversight and Government Reform Committee held several
hearings on program duplication during the 112th Congress. On
March 3, 2011, the Full Committee held a hearing entitled,
``Refuse of the Federal Spending Binge II: How U.S. Taxpayers
are Paying Double for Failing Government Programs.'' In this
hearing, the Committee discussed the 2011 GAO report, which
identified 81 examples of duplication in government including
programs related to tax benefits, military spending, food
safety, economic development, and biological terror threats.
One year later on February 28, 2012, the Full Committee
reviewed the 2012 GAO report outlining continued duplication
within the Federal government at a hearing entitled,
``Government 2.0: GAO Unveils New Duplicative Program Report.''
This report identified 51 additional areas of duplication
including defense procurement, financial literacy, information
technology investments, revenue collection and fraud detection
in key entitlement programs. The Committee also held two
subcommittee hearings about government duplication with
narrower breadth: one hearing concerned duplication in social
welfare programs, and another concerned duplicative information
H.R. 3609 was introduced by Representative Lankford on
December 8, 2011. The bill was referred to the Oversight and
Government Reform Committee. A companion bill, S. 1957, was
introduced by Senator Coburn on December 7, 2011. S. 1957 was
referred to the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental
A section-by-section summary of the amendment in the nature
of a substitute (ANS) adopted during the Full Committee
business meeting follows:
Section 1. Short title
This Act may be cited as the ``Taxpayers Right-To-Know
Section 2. Agency requirements relating to annual report on the cost
and performance of government programs and areas of duplication
This section of the bill requires agencies to provide
information on the programs they administer and on any
duplication or overlap among such programs. For every program
it administers, each agency must identify and describe the
program, its cost, the number of full-time equivalent employees
responsible for its administration, and the estimated number of
people served. Each agency is further directed to identify and
report on any programs with duplicative or overlapping
Each agency is required to post the aforementioned
information annually on a publicly accessible page on its
website--accessible via a link on the agency's home page. For
each of its programs, each agency must also post the most
recent performance reviews, and report on any expired grant
funding. For susceptible programs, each agency must also
provide an estimate of the volume of improper payments made.
In addition to reporting on programs and duplication,
agencies are directed to provide recommendations to consolidate
duplicative or overlapping programs, eliminate waste and
inefficiency, and terminate programs that are deemed
unnecessary, outdated, or low priority.
Section 3. Office of Management and Budget requirements relating to
annual report on the cost and performance of government
programs and areas of duplication among programs
This section requires the Director of the Office of
Management and Budget (OMB) to publish an annual report
identifying programs across government that have duplicative or
overlapping services. The report will provide recommendations
to consolidate duplicative and overlapping programs, eliminate
waste, and terminate unnecessary, outdated, or low priority
Section 4. Definitions
The section defines administrative costs, services, agency,
performance, and programs, as established by statute and OMB
Section 5. Classified information
This section specifies that the Act does not require the
disclosure of classified information.
Section 6. Regulations and implementation
This section requires the OMB Director to prescribe
regulations within 120 days of enactment in order to implement
the Taxpayers Right-To-Know Act at the inception of the first
full fiscal year after the date of enactment.
EXPLANATION OF AMENDMENTS
The provisions of Representative Lankford's ANS adopted
during the Committee Business Meeting are explained in the
Representative Quigley introduced an amendment to section 2
of H.R. 3609 that would require every agency to create a
permanent web page to allow the public to enter his or her
total tax payment and calculate how much of that payment is
used to fund each program at every Federal agency. The
amendment was defeated by a recorded vote of 17 ayes to 19
nays, with one member voting ``present.''
On April 26, 2012, the Committee met in open session and
ordered reported favorably the bill, H.R. 3609, as amended, by
voice vote, a quorum being present.
ROLL CALL VOTES
1. Mr. Quigley offered an amendment to the Lankford ANS to
insert a new subsection, ``Taxpayer Receipt.'' The amendment
was defeated by a recorded vote of 17 Yeas to 19 Nays, with one
Yeas: Amash, Meehan, Cummings, Towns, Norton, Kucinich,
Tierney, Clay, Lynch, Cooper, Connolly, Quigley, Davis, Braley,
Welch, Yarmuth and Murphy.
Nays: Issa, Burton, Mica, Turner, Jordan, Chaffetz, Mack,
Walberg, Lankford, Buerkle, Gosar, Labrador, DesJarlais, Walsh,
Gowdy, Ross, Guinta, Farenthold and Kelly.
APPLICATION OF LAW TO THE LEGISLATIVE BRANCH
Section 102(b)(3) of Public Law 104-1 requires a
description of the application of this bill to the legislative
branch where the bill relates to the terms and conditions of
employment or access to public services and accommodations.
This bill establishes several reporting requirements for
agencies to better identify inefficiencies. As such this bill
does not relate to employment or access to public services and
STATEMENT OF OVERSIGHT FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS OF THE COMMITTEE
In compliance with clause 3(c)(1) of rule XIII and clause
(2)(b)(1) of rule X of the Rules of the House of
Representatives, the Committee's oversight findings and
recommendations are reflected in the descriptive portions of
STATEMENT OF GENERAL PERFORMANCE GOALS AND OBJECTIVES
In accordance with clause 3(c)(4) of rule XIII of the Rules
of the House of Representatives, the Committee's performance
goals and objectives are reflected in the descriptive portions
of this report.
FEDERAL ADVISORY COMMITTEE ACT
The Committee finds that the legislation does not establish
or authorize the establishment of an advisory committee within
the definition of 5 U.S.C. App., Section 5(b).
UNFUNDED MANDATE STATEMENT
Section 423 of the Congressional Budget and Impoundment
Control Act (as amended by Section 101(a)(2) of the Unfunded
Mandate Reform Act, P.L. 104-4) requires a statement as to
whether the provisions of the reported bill include unfunded
mandates. In compliance with this requirement the Committee has
received a letter from the Congressional Budget Office included
H.R. 3609 does not include any congressional earmarks,
limited tax benefits, or limited tariff benefits as defined in
clause 9 of rule XXI.
Clause 3(d)(2) of rule XIII of the Rules of the House of
Representatives requires an estimate and a comparison by the
Committee of the costs that would be incurred in carrying out
H.R. 3609. However, clause 3(d)(3)(B) of that rule provides
that this requirement does not apply when the Committee has
included in its report a timely submitted cost estimate of the
bill prepared by the Director of the Congressional Budget
Office under section 402 of the Congressional Budget Act.
BUDGET AUTHORITY AND CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET OFFICE COST ESTIMATE
With respect to the requirements of clause 3(c)(2) of rule
XIII of the Rules of the House of Representatives and section
308(a) of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974 and with respect
to requirements of clause (3)(c)(3) of rule XIII of the Rules
of the House of Representatives and section 402 of the
Congressional Budget Act of 1974, the Committee has received
the following cost estimate for H.R. 3609 from the Director of
Congressional Budget Office:
July 2, 2012.
Hon. Darrell Issa,
Chairman, Committee on Oversight and Government Reform,
House of Representatives, Washington, DC.
Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office has
prepared the enclosed cost estimate for H.R. 3609, the
Taxpayers Right-To-Know Act.
If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be
pleased to rovide them. The CBO staff contact is Matthew
Douglas W. Elmendorf.
H.R. 3609--Taxpayers Right-To-Know Act
Summary: H.R. 3609 would require government agencies to
identify and describe each program they administer, the cost to
administer the program, expenditures for services, the number
of program beneficiaries, and the number of Federal employees
and contract staff involved. Under the bill, that information
would be posted on each agency's Web site. In addition, H.R.
3609 would require an annual report by the Office of Management
and Budget that identifies duplicative Federal programs.
Based on information from several agencies, CBO estimates
that implementing H.R. 3609 would cost around $100 million over
the 2013-2017 period, assuming appropriation of the necessary
amounts. Enacting the bill could affect direct spending by
agencies not funded through annual appropriations; therefore,
pay-as-you-go procedures apply. CBO estimates, however, that
any net increase in spending by those agencies would be
negligible. Enacting H.R. 3609 would not affect revenues.
H.R. 3609 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector
mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA)
and would not affect the budgets of state, local, or tribal
Estimated cost to the Federal Government: The estimated
budgetary impact of H.R. 3609 is shown in the following table.
The costs of this legislation fall within all budget functions
that include spending on administrative activities.
By fiscal year, in millions of dollars--
2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2017
CHANGES IN SPENDING SUBJECT TO APPROPRIATION
Estimated Authorization Level............................. 30 30 20 10 10 100
Estimated Outlays......................................... 30 30 20 10 10 100
Basis of estimate: For this estimate, CBO assumes that the
bill will be enacted by the end of fiscal year 2012, that the
necessary amounts will be appropriated each year, and that
spending will follow historical patterns for salaries and
expenses related to modifying Federal reporting systems.
Under current law, agencies regularly produce various types
of management information on their programs, budgets, strategic
plans, and annual performance reports. A recent amendment to
the Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA) will require
agencies to describe every program they administer.
Consequently, CBO expects that some of the requirements of H.R.
3609 would codify or only slightly modify current agency-
However, the legislation would add significant new
reporting requirements for agencies, including reports on the
total administrative costs and the total costs of contract
services for each Federal program. Currently, the Catalog of
Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) lists more than 2,200
programs, projects, services, and activities that provide
assistance or benefits to the public. H.R. 3609 would apply to
the CFDA list of programs as well as any government service,
process, grant, contract, cooperative expense, compact, loan,
lease, or agency guidance. Based on information from the Office
of Management and Budget and selected agencies about the costs
to implement reporting requirements in the Government
Performance and Results Act and the American Recovery and
Reinvestment Act of 2009, CBO estimates that assembling that
information at this level of detail would cost around $100
million over the 2013-2017 period.
Pay-As-You-Go considerations: The Statutory Pay-As-You-Go
Act of 2010 establishes budget-reporting and enforcement
procedures for legislation affecting direct spending or
revenues. Enacting H.R. 3609 could affect direct spending by
agencies not funded through the appropriation process, but CBO
estimates that such effects would not be significant in any
year. Enacting H.R. 3609 would not affect revenues.
Intergovernmental and Private-Sector Impact: H.R. 3609
contains no intergovernmental or private-sector mandates as
defined in UMRA. Any costs to state and local governments would
result from complying with conditions of assistance.
Estimate prepared by: Federal costs: Matthew Pickford;
Impact on state, local, and tribal governments: Elizabeth Cove
Delisle; Impact on the private sector: Paige Piper/Bach.
Estimate approved by: Theresa Gullo, Deputy Assistant
Director for Budget Analysis.
This bill will place an unnecessary burden on agencies. It
requires agencies to report a significant amount of information
which will require substantial agency resources. The bill does
not authorize any additional funding to assist with agency
This legislation is also duplicative as some of the
information agencies already report under requirements in other
laws. For example, the bill requires agencies to report
information on improper payments made by the agency. The
Improper Payments Information Act of 2002 already requires
agencies to report information on their improper payments.
Additionally, the bill requires duplicative reporting of
performance information required by the GPRA Modernization Act
Some of the requirements of this legislation are unclear.
The bill requires every agency to estimate the number of
clients served by every program administered by the agency.
However, the bill does not define the term ``client.''
This legislation should be streamlined to ensure that it
will improve transparency without compromising efficiency.
Elijah E. Cummings.