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How Doug Collins hopes to improve transparency in federal spending
Doug Collins 2018
Doug Collins

U.S. Rep. Doug Collins, R-Gainesville, has introduced a bill that would require government agencies to publicly justify their spending requests and post that information on a centralized website.

Offering transparency for taxpayers is the goal, Collins said.

“Each year, Georgians entrust the government with their hard-earned tax dollars, but they’re left in the dark on where that money actually goes,” Collins said in a statement. “By requiring federal agencies to regularly publish budget justifications on one central website, the Congressional Budget Justification Transparency Act will ensure hard-working Americans have access to the information needed to evaluate how their tax dollars are being spent.”

Collins and U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley, an Illinois Democrat, introduced the bill Tuesday.

Congressional budget justifications explain how agencies want to spend the money they are requesting. The justifications would be posted on a central, searchable website, as well as each agency’s website. 

Quigley said the legislation would make budget information easier to find.

“This information is currently housed inconsistently and confusingly across different agencies, making it challenging to even know whether these materials for an agency exist,” he said in a statement.

The text of the budget materials would be searchable. Budget justification materials would have to be posted within two weeks of the date the materials are submitted to Congress, according to the bill. 

A breakdown of funds would be included. Classified materials would be exempt from the rules.

Several agencies, including the Library of Congress, the U.S. Department of the Treasury and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security have their budget justifications on their own websites.

U.S. Senators Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Gary Peters (D-Michigan) have introduced companion legislation in the Senate.

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