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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
[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
Committee Statement and Views.................................... 2
Explanation of Amendments........................................ 5
Committee Consideration.......................................... 5
Application of Law to the Legislative Branch..................... 5
Statement of Oversight Findings and Recommendations of the
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
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://
\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.
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 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
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 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
Section 4. Government accountability office requirements relating to
identification, consolidation, and elimination of duplicative
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
Section 5. Definitions
The section defines: administrative costs; services;
agency; performance indicator, performance goal, output
measure; and programs--as established by statute and OMB
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.
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
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.
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
H.R. 1423 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. 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:
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
Douglas W. Elmendorf.
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
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
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
(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
(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).
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
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
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.