Congressman Jim Cooper

Representing the 5th District of Tennessee

Government Reform


We live in the greatest nation on earth, and my job is to make sure we preserve America’s promise for future generations. I’m a member of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform (OGR), the main investigative body in the House, and I focus extensively on government reform issues.

My "Fixing Congress" speech in 2011 helped to launch a series of reform measures to cut government waste and eliminate, increase transparency and make the government work better for its citizens. I’m a founding member of the “Fix Congress Now” and “No Labels” groups and have been named a “Problem-Solver” for my commitment to working across the aisle and putting nation before party.

One of my proposed reforms, “No Budget, No Pay” is now the law of the land, and more reform efforts are underway including the launch of a major bipartisan reform package in July. One of my efforts to eliminate wasteful and duplicative programs was approved by the 113th Congress as a rules measure.  I’ve also introduced bipartisan legislation requiring federal agencies to produce an annual a list of their programs and submit it to the Office of Management and Budget so we can identify additional duplicative efforts.

We need more accountability and transparency in our nation’s finances. The Consolidated Financial Report of the United States Government is the most important government financial document because it shows a real picture of our nation’s finances, but most folks don’t even know it exists. It is the only government document that includes liabilities like Medicare and Social Security that are on the country's "credit card" for future payment, and it’s published every year by the Treasury. In 2006, I wrote a foreword to the Financial Report which was published, along with the full report text, and available in bookstores across America. A subcommittee of OGR held a hearing on the 2011 report, and you can watch video of my comments here.

As one of the first members to reject earmarks, I am glad that we again have a ban on earmarks this Congress. But we need a permanent fix, and that's why I'm working on legislation to completely end the practice.

I also continue to support redistricting reform and was proud once again to introduce the Redistricting Transparency Act, which would curb the practice of gerrymandering by letting the public participate in the Congressional redistricting process.

Links & Additional Information

House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform

U.S. Government Accountability Office


Financial Report of the United States Government


More on Government Reform

Feb 5, 2020 Press Release

WASHINGTON – Today, the House passed H.R. 3830, The Taxpayers Right-to-Know Act. Rep Jim Cooper (TN-05) and Rep. Tim Walberg (MI-07) reintroduced the measure last session.

Companion legislation was 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). Cooper’s Taxpayers Right-to-Know Act has now passed the House four times, but the Senate has never passed the bill.

May 13, 2019 Webform
Jan 4, 2019 Press Release

WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper (TN-05) reintroduced bipartisan legislation that would stop congressional pay if Congress fails to pass its spending bills on time.

The No Budget, No Pay Act, introduced with Reps. Stephanie Murphy (D-FL) and Vern Buchanan (R-FL), would prevent House and Senate members from receiving their salary if they miss annual deadlines for budget and appropriations bills, and would not be paid retroactively.

Jan 3, 2019 Press Release

WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper (TN-05) today reintroduced two bills that would reform the redistricting process. The bills would establish an independent redistricting commission, and allow for public participation in the congressional redistricting process. Together, these would increase transparency and significantly limit the secretive practice of gerrymandering.

Jun 28, 2018 Press Release

WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper (TN-05)  issued the following statement on the Supreme Court's ruling on Janus v. AFSCME: 

Jun 27, 2018 Press Release

WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper (TN-05) today issued the following statement after Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy announced his upcoming retirement.

“Justice Kennedy’s retirement once again proves a cold, hard fact: ELECTIONS MATTER,” Rep. Cooper said. “Trump will single-handedly change the direction of the Supreme Court and American life for decades. Our most fundamental rights – speech, choice, religion, marriage, health care, voting, you name it – are at risk now more than ever. Vote like your life depends on it.”

Jun 26, 2018 Press Release

WASHINGTON – In the wake of several recent Supreme Court decisions that have dodged the question of gerrymandering, U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper (TN-05) today reiterated his belief that Congress should pass legislation that would help eliminate the partisan redrawing of voting districts.

Jun 8, 2018 Press Release

Legislation Asserts Congress’ Right to Scrutinize Presidential Trade Actions, Including Tariffs

WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper (TN-05) today announced he is cosponsoring bipartisan legislation that would require presidents to allow Congress to review proposed trade actions – such as tariffs – at least 60 days before the trade actions are scheduled to take effect.

Mar 28, 2018 Press Release
Fighting a push to resurrect pork-barrel federal spending, U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper (TN-05), U.S. Rep. Kathleen Rice (NY-04), U.S. Rep. Ted Budd (NC-13) and U.S. Rep. Ralph Norman (SC-05) today announced bipartisan legislation that would permanently ban earmarks from the legislative process.
Feb 6, 2018 Press Release

WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper (TN-05) today applauded House passage of two anti-sexual harassment bills, saying it’s a long-overdue step to ensure appropriate conduct in the halls of Congress.

Both bipartisan bills were introduced as the #MeToo movement swept over Capitol Hill, exposing numerous harassment cases among lawmakers and staff.