ATR today released a letter urging members of Congress to support and co-sponsor H.R. 850, the Agency Accountability Act. This legislation would increase transparency and oversight of funds collected by federal agencies by subjecting these funds to the regulation of Congress and the Treasury.
Read the full letter here or below:
Dear Members of Congress,
I write to urge support and co-sponsorship of H.R. 850, the Agency Accountability Act, introduced by Representative Gary Palmer (R-Ala.). H.R. 850 would increase transparency and oversight of funds collected by federal agencies by subjecting these funds to the regulation of Congress and the Treasury.
H.R. 850 would require all fees, fines, penalties, and other funds to be sent to the Treasury, redirecting them back under the proper appropriations process. The agencies would still be able to collect fees, and those funds would continue to sponsor their necessary functions. However, under H.R. 850, Congress would supervise the allocation of such funds.
Article I of the Constitution grants Congress the authority to levy taxes and determine where and how these funds are spent. Congress has allowed government agencies to collect fees and fines, billions of which are being spent on causes that have not been approved. In 2015, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) reported that the government collected $516 billion in fees. Of this $516 billion, the Department of Justice collects $63.7 billion and keeps close to $24.7 billion for its own use. H.R. 850 would hold agencies accountable to keep this money within its appropriate purposes, rather than self-fund.
H.R. 850 is a positive measure to improve the overall transparency and accountability of the federal government and to reduce unnecessary spending. Members of Congress can demonstrate their support for increased Congressional oversight over the spending of federal agencies by co-sponsoring the Agency Accountability Act.
Grover G. Norquist
President, Americans for Tax Reform