H. Rept. 113-355 - 113th Congress (2013-2014)
February 21, 2014, As Reported by the Oversight and Government Reform Committee

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House Report 113-355 - TAXPAYERS RIGHT-TO-KNOW ACT




[House Report 113-355]
[From the U.S. Government Printing Office]


113th Congress                                                   Report
                        HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
 2d Session                                                     113-355

======================================================================



 
                      TAXPAYERS RIGHT-TO-KNOW ACT

                                _______
                                

 February 21, 2014.--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

                             together with

                            ADDITIONAL VIEWS

                        [To accompany H.R. 1423]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

    The Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, to whom 
was referred the bill (H.R. 1423) to provide taxpayers with an 
annual report disclosing the cost and performance of Government 
programs and areas of duplication among them, and for other 
purposes, having considered the same, report favorably thereon 
with an amendment and recommend that the bill as amended do 
pass.

                                CONTENTS

                                                                   Page
Committee Statement and Views....................................     2
Section-by-Section...............................................     4
Explanation of Amendments........................................     5
Committee Consideration..........................................     5
Application of Law to the Legislative Branch.....................     5
Statement of Oversight Findings and Recommendations of the 
  Committee......................................................     5
Statement of General Performance Goals and Objectives............     5
Duplication of Federal Programs..................................     6
Disclosure of Directed Rule Makings..............................     6
Federal Advisory Committee Act...................................     6
Unfunded Mandate Statement.......................................     6
Earmark Identification...........................................     6
Committee Estimate...............................................     6
Budget Authority and Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate...     6
Changes in Existing Law Made by the Bill as Reported.............     8
Additional Views.................................................    10

    The amendment (stated in terms of the page and line numbers 
of the introduced bill) is as follows:
    Page 3, line 7, insert after ``funds'' the following: ``, 
including any finding of duplication or overlap identified by 
internal review, an Inspector General, the Government 
Accountability Office, or other report to the agency about the 
program''.

                     Committee Statement and Views


                          PURPOSE AND SUMMARY

    H.R. 1423, 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 
(OMB) 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 (GAO) 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. In the most recent 
report, GAO 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. GAO's first report was released 
in March 2011, and identified 34 areas of duplication, overlap, 
and fragmentation across government.\1\ The report also 
highlighted 47 areas of potential cost savings.\2\ In February 
2012, GAO released its second report identifying 32 areas of 
duplication, overlap, and fragmentation of government programs, 
as well as 19 areas of cost savings.\3\ Unlike the first annual 
report, which contained areas previously highlighted by GAO, 
the second report contained new findings. GAO's third report, 
released in 2013, highlighted 31 new areas, including 17 
instances of fragmentation, duplication, or overlap, and 14 
areas of potential cost savings.\4\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \1\Government Accountability Office. Opportunities to Reduce 
Potential Duplication in Government Programs, Save Tax Dollars, and 
Enhance Revenue, March 2011, GAO-11-318SP. Available at: http://
www.gao.gov/assets/320/315920.pdf.
    \2\Id.
    \3\Government Accountability Office, 2012 Annual Report: 
Opportunities to Reduce Duplication, Overlap and Fragmentation, Achieve 
Savings, and Enhance Revenue, February 28, 2012, GAO-12-342SP. 
Available at: http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-12-342SP.
    \4\GAO briefing to the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and 
Government Reform, April 2, 2013.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The Oversight and Government Reform Committee has held 
hearings on each of GAO's reports on duplication. 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. On April 9, 2013, the Committee held a 
Full Committee hearing entitled ``Reducing Waste in Government: 
Addressing GAO's 2013 Report on Duplicative Federal Programs.'' 
The hearing focused on GAO's third report, which identified 31 
new areas and also evaluated actions taken to address 
duplicative programs identified in previous reports. 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 technology investments.

                          LEGISLATIVE HISTORY

    In the 112th Congress, the Taxpayers Right-To-Know Act was 
introduced by Representative James Lankford as H.R. 3609 on 
December 8, 2011. The bill was referred to the Oversight and 
Government Reform Committee. A companion bill, S. 1957, was 
introduced by Senator Tom Coburn on December 7, 2011. S. 1957 
was referred to the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental 
Affairs Committee but no further action was taken. In the 113th 
Congress, Representative Lankford reintroduced the bill as H.R. 
1423. The bill was referred to the Oversight and Government 
Reform Committee and was subsequently adopted by the Committee 
on July 24, 2013.

                           Section-by-Section


Section 1. Short title

    This section is the short title of the bill, the 
``Taxpayers Right-To-Know Act.''

Section 2. Agency requirements relating to annual report on the cost 
        and performance of government programs and areas of duplication 
        among programs

    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 
functions.
    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 homepage. 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 
programs.

Section 4. Government accountability office requirements relating to 
        identification, consolidation, and elimination of duplicative 
        government programs

    This section amends Section 21 of the Statutory Pay-As-You-
Go Act of 2010 (31 U.S.C. 712 note) by adding a subsection 
``(b)'' requiring that the Comptroller General maintain a 
publicly available website, updated at least annually, that 
tracks the status of responses by Departments to Congress to 
suggested actions that the Comptroller General has previously 
identified in annual reports under subsection (a) of Section 
21.

Section 5. Definitions

    The section defines: administrative costs; services; 
agency; performance indicator, performance goal, output 
measure; and programs--as established by statute and OMB 
guidance.

Section 6. Classified information

    This section specifies that the Act does not require the 
disclosure of classified information.

Section 7. 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

    Amendment Offered by Ms. Speier--Ms. Speier offered an 
amendment requiring agencies to report on their programs any 
findings of duplication or overlap identified by internal 
review, an Inspector General, the Government Accountability 
Office, or other report to the agency. The amendment was 
accepted by voice vote.

                        Committee Consideration

    On July 24, 2013, the Committee met in open session and 
ordered reported favorably the bill, H.R. 1423, as amended, by 
voice vote, a quorum being present.

              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 provides information on government programs, 
spending, and duplication. As such this bill does not relate to 
employment or access to public services and accommodations.
    Legislative branch employees and their families, to the 
extent that they are otherwise eligible for the benefits 
provided by this legislation, have equal access to its 
benefits.

  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 
this report.

         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.

                    Duplication of Federal Programs

    No provision of H.R. 1423 establishes or reauthorizes a 
program of the Federal Government known to be duplicative of 
another Federal program, a program that was included in any 
report from the Government Accountability Office to Congress 
pursuant to section 21 of Public Law 111-139, or a program 
related to a program identified in the most recent Catalog of 
Federal Domestic Assistance.

                  Disclosure of Directed Rule Makings

    The Committee estimates that enacting H.R. 1423 does not 
direct the completion of any specific rule makings within the 
meaning of 5 U.S.C. 551.

                     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 include unfunded 
mandates. In compliance with this requirement the Committee has 
received a letter from the Congressional Budget Office included 
herein.

                         Earmark Identification

    H.R. 1423 does not include any congressional earmarks, 
limited tax benefits, or limited tariff benefits as defined in 
clause 9 of rule XXI.

                           Committee Estimate

    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. 1423. 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. 1423 from the Director of 
Congressional Budget Office:

                                     U.S. Congress,
                               Congressional Budget Office,
                                   Washington, DC, August 22, 2013.
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. 1423, the 
Taxpayers Right-To-Know Act.
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Matthew 
Pickford.
            Sincerely,
                                              Douglas W. Elmendorf.
    Enclosure.

H.R. 1423--Taxpayers Right-To-Know Act

    Summary: H.R. 1423 would require government agencies to 
identify and describe each program they administer, the cost to 
administer those programs, 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 website. H.R. 1423 
would require the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to 
submit to the Congress an annual report that identifies 
duplicative federal programs. Finally, the Government 
Accountability Office (GAO) would be required to maintain and 
update a database on duplicative programs.
    Based on information from several agencies, CBO estimates 
that implementing H.R. 1423 would cost around $100 million over 
the 2014-2018 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. 1423 would not affect revenues.
    H.R. 1423 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 
governments.
    Estimated cost to the Federal Government: The estimated 
budgetary impact of H.R. 1423 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--
                                                    ------------------------------------------------------------
                                                       2014      2015      2016      2017      2018    2014-2018
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                  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 near the end of 2013, that the necessary 
amounts will be appropriated each year, and that spending will 
follow historical patterns for federal salaries and expenses.
    Under current law, agencies regularly produce information 
on program management, budgets, strategic plans, and annual 
performance. 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 provisions in H.R. 1423 would codify or only slightly 
modify current requirements.
    However, the legislation also would require agencies to 
report the total administrative costs and the total costs of 
contract services associated with 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. 1423 would apply to the CFDA list of programs as well 
as any other government service, process, grant, contract, 
cooperative expense, compact, loan, lease, or agency guidance. 
In addition, the legislation would require OMB and executive-
branch agencies to prepare reports that identify federal 
programs with duplicative overlapping missions, services, and 
allowable uses of funds. Based on information from OMB and 
selected agencies about the costs to implement reporting 
requirements in GPRA and the American Recovery and Reinvestment 
Act of 2009, CBO estimates that assembling such information at 
a high level of detail would cost around $100 million over the 
2014-2018 period. That amount includes negligible amounts for 
GAO to maintain a database of duplicative federal programs.
    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. 1423 could affect direct spending by 
agencies not funded through the appropriation process, but CBO 
estimates that any change in net spending would not be 
significant in any year. Enacting H.R. 1423 would not affect 
revenues.
    Intergovernmental and private-sector impact: H.R. 1423 
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.

         Changes in Existing Law Made by the Bill, as Reported

    In compliance with clause 3(e) of rule XIII of the Rules of 
the House of Representatives, changes in existing law made by 
the bill, as reported, are shown as follows (new matter is 
printed in italic and existing law in which no change is 
proposed is shown in roman):

STATUTORY PAY-AS-YOU-GO ACT OF 2010

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *



       TITLE II--ELIMINATION OF DUPLICATIVE AND WASTEFUL SPENDING

SEC. 21. IDENTIFICATION, CONSOLIDATION, AND ELIMINATION OF DUPLICATIVE 
                    GOVERNMENT PROGRAMS.

  (a) The Comptroller General of the Government Accountability 
Office shall conduct routine investigations to identify 
programs, agencies, offices, and initiatives with duplicative 
goals and activities within Departments and governmentwide and 
report annually to Congress on the findings, including the cost 
of such duplication and with recommendations for consolidation 
and elimination to reduce duplication identifying specific 
rescissions.
  (b) The Comptroller General shall maintain and provide 
regular updates, on not less than an annual basis to a publicly 
available website that tracks the status of responses by 
Departments and the Congress to suggested actions that the 
Comptroller General has previously identified in annual reports 
under subsection (a). The status of these suggested actions 
shall be tracked for an appropriate period to be determined by 
the Comptroller General. The requirements of this subsection 
shall apply during the effective period of subsection (a).

                            ADDITIONAL VIEWS

    H.R. 1423 includes duplicative reporting requirements that 
will place an unnecessary burden on agencies. It would require 
agencies to report a significant amount of information which 
would require substantial agency resources, but it would not 
authorize any additional funding to assist with agency 
compliance.
    The Congressional Research Service had identified multiple 
areas of potential overlap and duplication between the 
Taxpayers Right-To-Know Act and current statutory requirements. 
For example, although the bill would require 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. The 
bill also may duplicate reporting requirements in the GPRA 
Modernization Act of 2010.
    Section 5 of the bill would include in its definition of 
``agency'' legislative branch offices other than the Government 
Accountability Office. The bill would authorize the Office of 
Management and Budget to issue implementing regulations. 
Therefore, the Congressional Research Service found that ``the 
result would be to imbue an executive branch agency with the 
authority to bind, through regulation, the actions of a 
significant number of legislative entities, including, perhaps, 
many internal congressional offices that may be considered 
integral to the legislative process.''
    One improvement in H.R. 1423 would be its requirement for 
agencies to report the number of full-time positions that are 
paid through a grant or contract or the subaward of a grant or 
contract.
    I hope that before this bill is brought to the House floor 
that Chairmen Issa and Lankford, the sponsors of the bill, will 
address concerns raised by Minority Members of the Committee 
regarding overlap and duplication with existing law.

                                   Elijah E. Cummings.