Washington, D.C. - Today, Congressman Tom Emmer (MN-06) introduced legislation that will give Americans a better understanding of how their hard-earned tax dollars are being spent by the federal government.
H.Res.523 requires the House Appropriations Committee to create a publicly accessible database that Americans can use to download, search, and sort through spending allocations to each government department, agency, and program for both the current fiscal year and the previous ten.
“One of the main reasons I ran for Congress is to provide a better future for my children and grandchildren. Yet, each day I watch their financial obligations to this country grow larger and larger. Right now, every American is on the hook for roughly $85,500 of the national debt, and unless we pay attention, our government will continue to adjust spending levels in only one direction – up,” said Emmer.
Emmer continued, "I have consistently voted to bring our federal spending back under control, and I hope this legislation will give the American people another tool to better understand where their money is going in an effort to help change the current fiscal course of the nation. Whether they want to or not, Americans are routinely forced to open their budgets and take a hard look at the numbers before they can begin to budget more effectively. Shouldn’t the same principle apply to how we approach our national spending now that we are nearly $30 trillion in debt?”
Emmer concluded, “We cannot continue to add new spending without providing a way to pay for it, nor can we continue to place the weight of our fiscal irresponsibility on the shoulders of future generations. Our children and grandchildren deserve a life better than the one we had; greater government transparency is the least we can offer them as we work to get our federal spending under control."
Federal spending falls into two main categories: mandatory spending and discretionary spending. Mandatory spending is “automatic” and collected from tax revenue specifically for government-run programs like Social Security and Medicare. Discretionary spending is what Congress allocates for federal agencies, departments, and programs through the annual appropriations process.
Although mandatory spending comprises 70% of all federal spending, Congress oversees the allocation of trillions of dollars of discretionary spending each year. Yet there is no single, comprehensive and searchable database where American taxpayers can go to see how their money is being used.