Coalition Letter: The Unauthorized Spending Accountability (USA) Act

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May 6, 2019

Dear Representative McMorris Rodgers:

On behalf of the undersigned organizations, we write in support of H.R. 2505, the Unauthorized Spending Accountability (USA) Act. This sensible proposal would help empower Congress to better exercise its power of the purse by requiring the periodic authorization of federal programs. We strongly believe this legislation will bring fiscal sanity back to the budget process and we urge Congress to swiftly pass the USA Act into law.

According to the Congressional Budget Office, for fiscal year (FY) 2019, Congress has appropriated $306.8 billion to 971 programs and activities that are no longer authorized. That equates to nearly one-quarter of the discretionary budget. Regardless of the merits of these programs, it is undeniable that they are being funded without sufficient oversight and accountability. The USA Act would create a mechanism that forces congressional committees to take charge of the expenditures within their jurisdiction. After the enactment of this bill, unauthorized programs would see their budgets reduced by 10 percent in the first year, and 15 percent in each of the following two years, after which they would be completely sunset. These spending reductions would be applied to the overall federal discretionary budget.

Congress is already required by rule to authorize programs before appropriating funds. However, due to widespread and longstanding waivers of this rule, the two oldest unauthorized programs date back to the 95th and 96th Congress. The USA Act would help end the longstanding neglect of the authorization process.

Your legislation also includes important accountability measures that pertain to mandatory spending, which comprises nearly two-thirds of the federal budget. It would create a Spending Accountability Commission tasked with conducting comprehensive reviews of federal programs funded by mandatory spending. In the event Congress cannot agree on whether an unauthorized program should continue, the commission could propose reductions in mandatory spending to offset any unauthorized programs remaining on the books. This mechanism would provide Congress with additional flexibility as it seeks to improve the effectiveness of government spending.

Again, we commend you on your thoughtful approach to increasing accountability, which will result in reducing unnecessary federal spending. Our organizations are pleased to endorse the USA Act, and we hope all Members of Congress will join you in working toward its swift passage.

National Taxpayers Union

60 Plus Association

American Commitment

Americans for a Balanced Budget

Americans for Limited Government

Americans for Prosperity

Competitive Enterprise Institute

Hispanic Leadership Fund

Tea Party Nation

Americans for Tax Reform

Council for Citizens Against Government Waste

Campaign for Liberty Coalition to Reduce Spending

Independent Women’s Voice

R Street Institute

FreedomWorks

Taxpayers for Common Sense

Generation Opportunity

Taxpayers Protection Alliance

Rhode Island Center for Freedom and Prosperity



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