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113th Congress                                                   Report
                                 SENATE
 2d Session                                                     113-243
_______________________________________________________________________

                                     

                                                       Calendar No. 531


                      TAXPAYERS RIGHT-TO-KNOW ACT

                               __________

                              R E P O R T

                                 of the

                   COMMITTEE ON HOMELAND SECURITY AND

                          GOVERNMENTAL AFFAIRS

                          UNITED STATES SENATE

                              to accompany

                                S. 2113

  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




                August 26, 2014.--Ordered to be printed

     Filed, under authority of the order of the Senate of August 5 
                   (legislative day, August 1), 2014
        COMMITTEE ON HOMELAND SECURITY AND GOVERNMENTAL AFFAIRS

                  THOMAS R. CARPER, Delaware Chairman
CARL LEVIN, Michigan                 TOM COBURN, Oklahoma
MARK L. PRYOR, Arkansas              JOHN McCAIN, Arizona
MARY L. LANDRIEU, Louisiana          RON JOHNSON, Wisconsin
CLAIRE McCASKILL, Missouri           ROB PORTMAN, Ohio
JON TESTER, Montana                  RAND PAUL, Kentucky
MARK BEGICH, Alaska                  MICHAEL B. ENZI, Wyoming
TAMMY BALDWIN, Wisconsin             KELLY AYOTTE, New Hampshire
HEIDI HEITKAMP, North Dakota

                  Gabrielle A. Batkin, Staff Director
               John P. Kilvington, Deputy Staff Director
                    Mary Beth Schultz, Chief Counsel
               Kristine V. Lam, Professional Staff Member
               Keith B. Ashdown, Minority Staff Director
         Christopher J. Barkley, Minority Deputy Staff Director
               Andrew C. Dockham, Minority Chief Counsel
                  Patrick J. Bailey, Minority Counsel
                     Laura W. Kilbride, Chief Clerk


                                                       Calendar No. 531
113th Congress                                                   Report
                                 SENATE
 2d Session                                                     113-243
======================================================================



 
                      TAXPAYERS RIGHT-TO-KNOW ACT

                                _______
                                

                August 26, 2014.--Ordered to be printed

     Filed, under authority of the order of the Senate of August 5 
                           (legislative day, 
                            August 1), 2014

                                _______
                                

 Mr. Carper, from the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental 
                    Affairs, submitted the following

                              R E P O R T

                         [To accompany S. 2113]

    The Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental 
Affairs, to which was referred the bill (S. 2113), 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, 
reports favorably thereon with an amendment in the nature of a 
substitute and recommends that the bill, as amended, do pass.

                                CONTENTS

                                                                   Page
  I. Purpose and Summary..............................................1
 II. Background.......................................................2
III. Legislative History..............................................4
 IV. Section-by-Section Analysis of the Bill, as Reported.............4
  V. Estimated Cost of Legislation....................................6
 VI. Evaluation of Regulatory Impact..................................7
VII. Changes in Existing Law..........................................8

                         I. Purpose and Summary

    The Taxpayers Right-To-Know Act of 2014 (S. 2113) will 
provide the public with better and more useful information on 
the breadth, cost, and performance of programs administered by 
the federal government. It will do so by refining existing 
requirements under the Government Performance and Results 
Modernization Act for agencies to create, update, and make 
public an inventory of their programs. Specifically, by 
providing a uniform definition of the term ``program,'' better 
detailing the information agencies must provide, and requiring 
the inclusion of financial data about programs, S. 2113 will 
give the American taxpayer a much better sense of the programs 
they are paying for and how those programs are performing.

                II. Background and Need for Legislation

    Over twenty years ago, Congress passed the Government 
Performance and Results Act (GPRA) (P.L. 103-62), a law 
premised on the belief that the regular and systemic 
measurement and reporting of how government programs are 
working will help those programs to work better.\1\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \1\See U.S. Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs, Government 
Performance and Results Act, 1993 (S. 20), Together with Dissenting and 
Separate Views, (103 S. Rpt. 103-58), p. 2. The Committee on 
Governmental Affairs is the former name of this Committee.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    GPRA required agencies to take a number of steps to better 
plan and budget for their activities. It also required agencies 
to provide information about that planning and budgeting, so 
that Congress had the data it needed when considering changes 
to, or authorizing spending on, federal programs.\2\ GPRA 
implementation, combined with other statutory efforts in the 
1990s addressing long-standing management problems,\3\ has 
provided a powerful framework for developing and integrating 
information about agencies' strategic priorities, the results-
oriented performance goals that flow from those priorities, 
performance data showing the level of achievement of those 
goals, and the relationship of reliable and audited financial 
information and information technology investments to the 
achievement of those goals.\4\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \2\GPRA, Sec. Sec. (a)(1) and 2(b)(5).
    \3\This includes the Chief Financial Officers Act of 1990 (P.L. 
111-204), as amended by the Government Management Reform Act of 1994 
(P.L. 103-356), and information technology reform legislation, 
including the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (P.L. 104-13) and the 
Clinger-Cohen Act of 1996 (P.L. 104-106).
    \4\GAO, Results-Oriented Government: GPRA Has Established a Solid 
Foundation for Achieving Greater Results, GAO-04-38 (Washington, D.C.: 
March 10, 2004) p. 25.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    In the years since GPRA's enactment, that statute has led 
to many improvements in the federal government's performance, 
but experience in implementing GPRA has also shown that 
Congress must regularly step in to refine that law's mandates. 
For example, in 2010, Congress passed the Government 
Performance and Results Modernization Act (GPRA Modernization) 
(P.L. 111-352). GPRA Modernization addressed weaknesses in the 
original GPRA by requiring: the Office of Management and Budget 
(OMB) to provide government-wide priority goals; increased 
frequency and enhanced quality of agency reporting; and 
improved transparency of performance reporting. Additionally, 
GPRA Modernization also required OMB to publish information 
about programs identified by agencies. This last provision 
required agencies to describe the purposes of programs meeting 
OMB's inventory criteria, explain how those programs contribute 
to the mission and goals of the agency, and state the amount 
the program cost for the current and two previous fiscal years. 
The purpose of a central program list is to facilitate 
coordination across agencies and programs by making it easier 
for federal agencies and Congress to find programs seeking to 
serve a shared goal. A program list with detailed performance 
and financial information also has the potential to assist 
Congress in comparing similar programs across different 
agencies and assessing whether there is duplication, overlap, 
fragmentation, or inefficiencies within government programs. As 
the Government Accountability Office (GAO) noted in its first 
annual report on duplication in 2010, ``needed information on 
program performance is not readily available; the level of 
funding in agency budgets devoted to overlapping or fragmented 
programs is not clear; and the implementation costs that might 
be associated with program consolidations or terminations, 
among other variables, are difficult to predict.''\5\ Reviewing 
44 duplicative employment training programs in that same 
report, GAO explained that ''the extent to which individuals 
receive the same services from these programs is unknown due to 
program data limitations.''\6\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \5\GAO, Opportunities to Reduce Potential Duplication in Government 
Programs, Save Tax Dollars, and Enhance Revenue, GAO-11-318SP 
(Washington, D.C.: March, 2011) p. 3.
    \6\Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The first program inventory was published in May 2013 on 
www.performance.gov, a website established by OMB. GAO 
immediately expressed concern that the program inventory did 
not meet the requirements under the GPRA Modernization Act and 
that the inventory therefore would not enable Congress to 
compare similar programs government-wide. In testimony before 
this Committee, the Comptroller General of the United States, 
Gene Dodaro, reported that GAO's preliminary review of the 
inventories yielded concerns about the usefulness of the 
information being developed and the extent to which it would 
assist executive branch and congressional efforts to identify 
and address fragmentation, overlap, and duplication.\7\ Among 
the problems identified by GAO were OMB's guidance for 
developing the inventories, which allowed agencies flexibility 
to define their programs in various ways, including by 
outcomes, customers, products/services, organization structure, 
and budget structure. As a result, agencies--and even the 
components within an agency--took different approaches to 
define their programs. The variation in how agencies defined 
their programs limited comparability among like programs. 
Additionally, federal budget and cost information was not 
available for all programs.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \7\Statement of Gene Dodaro (Comptroller General of the United 
States), Hearing before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and 
Governmental Affairs, Management Matters: Creating a 21st Century 
Government (March 12, 2014), GAO-14-436T, p. 7.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The Taxpayers Right-To-Know Act was introduced to ensure 
that future program inventories will reflect what this 
Committee and Congress envisioned when GPRA Modernization was 
passed. Instead of requiring OMB to provide agencies with 
guidance on how to define a program for the purposes of the 
program inventory, the legislation itself defines the term 
``program,'' thereby providing for uniformity of reporting. The 
Taxpayers Right-To-Know Act also requires agencies to identify 
and publish the specific statute authorizing each program and 
any regulations specific to the program, and to provide links 
to any evaluation, assessment, or program performance reviews 
by the agency, an Inspector General, or the Government 
Accountability Office for the preceding five years. For any 
program that provides grants or other financial assistance to 
individuals or entities, agencies are also required to publish 
an estimate of the number of individuals served by the program 
and beneficiaries who received financial assistance under the 
program, an estimate of the number of full-time equivalents who 
administer the program, and the number of full-time equivalents 
who administer or assist in administering the program whose 
salary is paid in part or full by the federal government 
through a grant, contract, cooperative agreement, or another 
form of financial award or assistance.
    In order for Congress and the public to get a complete 
picture of a program, the Committee believes it is important to 
link a program's performance information with its financial 
information. On September 13, 2006, President Bush signed into 
law the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act 
(FFATA), landmark legislation which fundamentally changed the 
way that federal spending was reported to the public.
    In order to further refine and improve the financial 
reporting required under FFATA, the Committee and Congress 
passed the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act (DATA 
Act) (P.L. 113-101), which was signed into law by President 
Obama on May 9, 2014. The DATA Act requires the federal 
government to increase the availability, accuracy, and 
usefulness of on-line information regarding federal spending. 
Specifically, it requires federal agencies to publish spending 
information online to cover virtually all forms of government 
spending, mandates that the information appear in a form that 
is both easily searchable and downloadable, and makes uniform 
the manner in which agencies provide such data for online 
posting. The Taxpayers Right-To-Know Act would require that 
program inventories also include, to the extent available, 
financial information for each program required to be reported 
under the DATA Act or a direct web link to the information. 
When fully enacted, the Taxpayers Right-to-Know Act will result 
in detailed financial and performance information for every 
federal program, all in one place.

                        III. Legislative History

    On March 12, 2014, Senator Coburn and nineteen original co-
sponsors\8\ introduced S. 2113, the Taxpayers Right-To-Know Act 
of 2014, which was referred to the Senate Committee on Homeland 
Security and Governmental Affairs.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \8\The original co-sponsors of S. 2113 are Senators Ayotte, Begich, 
Burr, Chambliss, Collins, Cruz, Enzi, Flake, Hatch, Inhofe, Ron 
Johnson, McCain, McCaskill, Paul, Portman, Risch, Scott, Vitter, and 
Warner.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The Committee considered the bill at a business meeting on 
May 21, 2014, at which point the legislation had 37 total 
cosponsors. The Committee adopted a substitute amendment 
offered by Senator Coburn and then ordered the underlying bill 
reported favorably, both by voice vote. The substitute added a 
definition for the term ``program'' for the purposes of the 
program inventory and specified the information that agencies 
must provide for each program. Members present for the vote on 
the amendment and on the bill were Senators Carper, Pryor, 
Landrieu, McCaskill, Tester, Begich, Coburn, Johnson, Portman, 
and Enzi.

        IV. Section-by-Section Analysis of the Bill, as Reported


Section 1: Short title

    The short title of the bill is the ``Taxpayers Right-To-
Know Act.''

Section 2: Cost and performance of Government programs

    Definition of Program. This section defines the term 
``program'' for the purposes of 31 U.S.C. Sec.  1122 (the 
provision establishing the requirement for OMB to publish an 
inventory of agency programs) as an organized set of activities 
by one or more agencies directed toward a common purpose or 
goal.
    Website and Program Inventory. This section directs the OMB 
Director to publish a program inventory that identifies each 
program of the federal government on the website where 
performance information is posted pursuant to the Government 
Performance and Results Modernization Act. Additionally, this 
section requires the program inventory to include: (1) any 
activity that is commonly referred to as a program; (2) any 
activity specifically created by law, or referenced in law, as 
a program; (3) each program that has an application process; 
(4) each program for which financial awards are made on a 
competitive basis; and, (5) any activity identified as a 
program activity in a budget request. The listing for each 
program must also state the specific statute that authorizes 
the program and any regulations specific to the program. Any 
program that provides grants or other financial assistance to 
individuals or entities is also required to include an estimate 
of the number of individuals served by the program and 
beneficiaries who received financial assistance under the 
program, an estimate of the number of full time equivalents who 
administer the program, and the number of full-time equivalents 
whose salary is paid in part or full by the federal government 
through a grant, contract, cooperative agreement, or another 
form of financial award or assistance who administer or assist 
in any way in administering the program. Programs listed in the 
program inventory must also include web links to any 
evaluation, assessment, or program performance reviews by the 
agency, an Inspector General, or the Government Accountability 
Office that was issued in the preceding five years. Finally, to 
the extent available, financial information for each program 
that is required to be reported under section 3(b) of the 
Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006 (31 
U.S.C. 6101 note), as amended by the DATA Act, is also required 
to be included in the program inventory. In lieu of 
republishing this financial information, a direct web link to 
such information is also allowed.
    Guidance. This section requires the Director of the Office 
of Management and Budget to issue guidance that will assist 
agencies in identifying the program activities listed in the 
President's budget submission to Congress that correspond with 
programs identified in the program inventory that is required 
by this legislation. Additionally, the OMB Director is 
authorized to issue guidance to agencies on how to more closely 
align programs in the program inventory for purposes of the 
budget that the President submits to Congress.

Section 3: Regulations and implementation

    Regulations. This section requires the OMB Director to 
issue regulations or other guidance to implement this 
legislation within 120 days after enactment of this Act.
    Implementation. This section requires the provisions in 
this legislation to be implemented no later than one year after 
the date of enactment of this Act.

                    V. Estimated Cost of Legislation

                                                     July 31, 2014.
Hon. Tom Carper,
Chairman, Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, U.S. 
        Senate, Washington, DC.
    Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office has 
prepared the enclosed cost estimate for S. 2113, 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.

S. 2113--Taxpayers Right-To-Know Act

    Summary: S. 2113 would amend federal law to increase the 
amount of information about federal programs that the Office of 
Management and Budget (OMB) provides online. The legislation 
would require that each program administered by a federal 
agency be described on the agency's website, including the 
number of people served by or benefiting from the program, the 
number of federal employees and contract staff involved, and 
links to reviews of the program including those by the 
Government Accountability Office (GAO) and Inspectors General.
    Based on information from several agencies, CBO estimates 
that implementing S. 2113 would cost $60 million over the 2015-
2019 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 S. 
2113 would not affect revenues.
    S. 2113 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 S. 2113 is shown in the following table. 
The costs of this legislation fall within all budget functions 
that include spending on administrative activities for 
government programs.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                 By fiscal year, in millions of dollars--
                                                         -------------------------------------------------------
                                                            2015     2016     2017     2018     2019   2015-2019
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                  CHANGES IN SPENDING SUBJECT TO APPROPRIATION

Estimated Authorization Level...........................       20       20       10        5        5        60
Estimated Outlays.......................................       20       20       10        5        5        60
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Basis of estimate: For this estimate, CBO assumes that the 
bill will be enacted near the end of fiscal year 2014, 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) requires agencies to describe every 
program they administer. Consequently, CBO expects that some of 
the provisions in S. 2113 would codify or only slightly modify 
current requirements.
    However, the legislation also would expand the definition 
of a federal program to require agencies to report each 
governmental activity as an individual program, along with the 
number of federal employees and contract staff involved. The 
Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance lists more than 2,200 
federal programs, projects, services, and activities that 
provide assistance or benefits to the public, although some 
programs may be listed more than once. Using information from 
OMB and selected agencies about the costs to implement GPRA, 
CBO estimates that assembling such information about each 
government activity that provides benefits or services to the 
public would cost less than $1 million annually per agency, or 
$60 million over the 2015-2019 period. Most costs would occur 
over the first three years to identify the programs and develop 
the necessary information for posting.
    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 S. 2113 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 S. 2113 would not affect 
revenues.
    Intergovernmental and private-sector impact: S. 2113 
contains no intergovernmental or private-sector mandates as 
defined in UMRA and would not affect the budgets of state, 
local, or tribal governments.
    Previous CBO estimate: On August 22, 2013, CBO transmitted 
a cost estimate for H.R. 1423, the Taxpayers-Right-To-Know Act, 
as ordered reported by the House Committee on Oversight and 
Government Reform on July 24, 2013. The two pieces of 
legislation would affect the management of information about 
federal programs. However, the bills have different definitions 
of a federal program and different reporting requirements. 
Those differences are reflected in the CBO cost estimates.
    Estimate prepared by: Federal Costs: Matthew Pickford; 
Impact on State, Local, and Tribal Governments: Michael Hirsch 
and Leo Lex; Impact on the Private Sector: John Rodier and 
Patrice Gordon.
    Estimate approved by: Theresa Gullo, Deputy Assistant 
Director for Budget Analysis.

                  VI. Evaluation of Regulatory Impact

    Pursuant to the requirements of paragraph 11(b) of rule 
XXVI of the Standing Rules of the Senate, the Committee has 
considered the regulatory impact of this bill.
    The Committee agrees with the Congressional Budget Office 
that the bill contains no intergovernmental or private-sector 
mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act and 
would impose no costs on state, local, or tribal governments, 
or private entities. The enactment of this legislation would 
not have significant regulatory impact.

     VII. Changes in Existing Statute Made by the Bill, as Reported

    In compliance with paragraph 12 of rule XXVI of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate, the following changes in existing 
law made by S. 994, as reported, are shown as follows (existing 
law proposed to be omitted is enclosed in black brackets, new 
matter is printed in italic, and existing law in which no 
change is proposed is shown in roman).

                           UNITED STATES CODE

TITLE 31--MONEY AND FINANCE

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


SUBTITLE II--THE BUDGET PROCESS

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


CHAPTER 11--THE BUDGET AND FISCAL, BUDGET, AND PROGRAM INFORMATION

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *



    Section 1101. Definitions. * * *

Sec. 1122. Transparency of programs, priority goals, and results.

    (a) Transparency of Agency Programs.
          (1) Definition of program.--For purposes of this 
        subsection, the term `program' means an organized set 
        of activities by 1 or more agencies directed toward a 
        common purpose or goal.
          (2) [In general.--Not later than October 1, 2012, the 
        Office of Management and Budget shall] Website and 
        Program Inventory._The Director of the Office of 
        Management and Budget shall--
                  (A) ensure the effective operation of a 
                single website;
                  (B) at a minimum, update the website on a 
                quarterly basis; and
                  (C) [include on the website information about 
                each program identified by the agencies.] 
                include on the website--
                          (i) a program inventory that shall 
                        identify each program of the Federal 
                        Government, which shall include--
                                  (I) any activity that is 
                                commonly referred to as a 
                                program;
                                  (II) any activity 
                                specifically created by law, or 
                                referenced in law, as a 
                                program;
                                  (III) each program that has 
                                an application process;
                                  (IV) each program for which 
                                financial awards are made on a 
                                competitive basis; and
                                  (V) any activity identified 
                                as a program activity in a 
                                budget request; and
                          (ii) for each program identified in 
                        the program inventory, the information 
                        required under paragraph (3).
          (3) Information.--Information for each program 
        [described under paragraph (1)] identified in the 
        program inventory required under paragraph (2) shall 
        include--
                  (A) [an identification of how the agency 
                defines the term ``program'', consistent with 
                guidance provided by the Director of the Office 
                of Management and Budget, including the program 
                activities that are aggregated, disaggregated, 
                or consolidated to be considered a program by 
                the agency;] the program activities that are 
                considered a program by the agency;
                  (B) a description of the purposes of the 
                program and the contribution of the program to 
                the mission and goals of the agency; [and]
                  (C) an identification of funding for the 
                current fiscal year and previous 2 fiscal 
                years[.];
                  (D) an identification of the specific statute 
                that authorizes the program and any regulations 
                specific to the program;
                  (E) for any program that provides grants or 
                other financial assistance to individuals or 
                entities, for the most recent fiscal year--
                          (i) an estimate of the number of 
                        individuals served by the program and 
                        beneficiaries who received financial 
                        assistance under the program; and
                          (ii) an estimate of--
                                  (I) the number of full-time 
                                equivalents 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, contract, cooperative 
                                agreement, or another form of 
                                financial award or assistance 
                                who administer or assist in any 
                                way in administering the 
                                program;
                  (F) links to any evaluation, assessment, or 
                program performance reviews by the agency, an 
                Inspector General, or the Government 
                Accountability Office (including program 
                performance reports required under section 
                1116) released during the preceding 5 years; 
                and
                  (G) to the extent available, financial 
                information for each program required to be 
                reported under section 3(b) of the Federal 
                Funding Accountability and Transparency Act of 
                2006 (31 U.S.C. 6101 note), or a direct link to 
                such information for a specific program on the 
                website established under section 2 of that 
                Act.
    (b) * * *
    (c) * * *
    (d) * * *