Congressman Jim Cooper

Representing the 5th District of Tennessee
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House Passes Cooper, Walberg Transparency Bill in First Week of Congress

Jan 4, 2017
Press Release

WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper (TN-05), working with U.S. Rep. Tim Walberg (MI-07), today announced House passage of his first bill of the new congressional session. The bill will provide Americans with more information on how tax dollars are spent.

Cleared without opposition in the House today, the Taxpayers Right-To-Know Act also unanimously passed the House in the last two sessions of Congress.

“This is the third time the House has passed our bill,” Rep. Cooper said. “Tennesseans work hard for their money. It’s time for the Senate to do its job and pass this commonsense bill before more taxpayer dollars are wasted.”

“Increasing transparency and collecting better data is the first step towards eliminating redundant and wasteful spending,” Rep. Walberg said. “Washington must be held accountable, and shining a light on overlapping and inefficient federal programs is a commonsense way to save taxpayer money. I’m proud to start the new year on a strong note fighting for Michigan taxpayers.”

The Taxpayers Right-To-Know Act requires each federal agency to annually report online every federal program and provide a description and cost of each program. Each list would be submitted to the Office of Management and Budget, which would determine how many duplicative and overlapping government programs exist and recommend ways to eliminate identical programs.

Each government program would be identified and reports would outline:

  • Total administrative costs of the program;
  • Total expenditures for services;
  • Total number of beneficiaries who receive assistance from the program; and
  • An estimate of the number of staff who administer the program, including contractor staff.

Each report also would include:

  • A listing of other programs within the agency with duplicative or overlapping missions and services;
  • The latest performance reviews for the program, including the metrics used to review the program;
  • The latest improper payment rate for the program, including fraudulent payments; and
  • The total amount of unspent and unobligated program funds held by the agency and grant recipients.

This information would be updated each year and posted online, along with recommendations to consolidate duplicative and overlapping programs; to eliminate waste and inefficiency; and to terminate lower-priority, outdated and unnecessary programs.