House Passes Blue Dog-Endorsed Taxpayers Right-To-Know Act

Feb 5, 2020
Press Release

WASHINGTON—Today, the House of Representatives passed the bipartisan Taxpayers Right-To-Know Act, a key component of the Blue Dog Blueprint for Fiscal Reform. The bipartisan bill, which passed the House during each of the last three Congresses, would provide Americans with more information on how federal tax dollars are being spent and help eliminate duplicative and wasteful government programs. It was re-introduced in the House this Congress by Reps. Jim Cooper (TN-05) and Tim Walberg (MI-07).


A similar measure has been introduced in the Senate by Sens. James Lankford (R-OK), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), Joni Ernst (R-IA), and Ron Johnson (R-WI). The Senate has never voted on the bill.


“I hate when taxpayer money is wasted and Middle Tennesseans do, too,” said Rep. Cooper, a member of the Blue Dog Coalition. “In light of recent revelations of federal funds being hoarded or turned back by our state government, we need to shed some light on how taxpayer dollars are being spent on both national and state levels. I’ve always said sunlight is the best disinfectant.”


“Accounting for spending of taxpayer dollars is an important factor in getting our fiscal house in order,” said Rep. Ben McAdams (UT-04), Co-Chair of the Blue Dog Task Force on Fiscal Responsibility & Government Reform. “It’s just common sense and transparent to open the books on government programs to ensure that the country knows it is getting what taxpayers are paying for.”


“I returned to Congress in large part out of great concern for our broken federal government, especially how our government spends our hard-earned tax-dollars,” said Rep. Ed Case (HI-01), Co-Chair of the Blue Dog Task Force on Fiscal Responsibility & Government Reform. “We must do so much more to focus on core functions and spend wisely, but we can only do so if we all know exactly where our federal dollars are coming from and going to. Full transparency, especially for taxpayers everywhere, is what this measure calls for and is the only way to start regaining public trust in our government’s administration of our money.”


The Taxpayers Right-To-Know Act requires federal agencies to report on their federal program activities and provide that information to the Office of Management and Budget to be published online as a complete inventory of the federal government’s programs. The program inventory will identify key information including:


  • The program’s administrative budget and how those funds are allocated;
  • The total amount appropriated, obligated, and outlayed for services;
  • The intended population served by the program;
  • Performance reviews for the program, including any Inspector General or Government Accountability Office reports;
  • The authorizing statute and any major rules or regulations related to the program; and
  • Other information to increase transparency to taxpayers.  


This information would be updated regularly and posted online in a searchable format. The Taxpayers Right-To-Know Act will allow policy makers to identify areas of duplication and overlap to eliminate waste and inefficiency and provide transparency to taxpayers about how their hard-earned tax dollars are being spent.