Lankford Checks on GAO Progress on Implementing His Taxpayers Right-to-Know Act to Fight Government Duplication of Programs
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WASHINGTON, DC – Senator James Lankford (R-OK) isn’t letting Biden’s Office of Management and Budget (OMB) drag their feet in the dark about launching the federal database of spending required in Lankford’s Taxpayers Right-to-Know Act, which became law last year. In a Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Subcommittee hearing today on government duplication with Comptroller General and head of the US Government Accountability Office (GAO), Gene Dodaro, Lankford asked for an update on how that’s coming along. Lankford also asked about oversight efforts on spending at the southern border.
Lankford remains engaged with OMB to push them to launch the federal spending database so taxpayers and Congress can see what needs to be fixed. In January 2021, Lankford applauded final passage of his Taxpayers Right-to-Know Act, which Lankford fought for since 2011. The Taxpayers Right-to-Know Act ensures completion of a functional federal program inventory that can be used as a tool for oversight of federal spending; to highlight good stewardship of tax dollars; and to provide greater transparency of duplication, inefficiency, and waste. Lankford has long maintained that government transparency is something we should all agree on. Lankford highlighted the need to get the database up and running on the Senate floor.
Lankford’s government waste report, Federal Fumbles, continued in this year’s edition to highlight the need for transparency in spending and being able to root out waste, fraud, abuse, and duplication in order to address our skyrocketing $30 trillion+ national debt and Washington’s constant spending appetite we can’t afford.
Lankford: Thank you very much, thanks for allowing me to be a guest on this subcommittee today as well to be able to join in on the conversation. Gene, it’s good to see you again. Thanks for the work, thanks for your whole team and the work they continue to be able to do to be able to drive some things home, I really appreciate that. It may surprise you that I am going to ask first about Taxpayer’s Right to Know, I know that will be shocking to you for me to be able to bring this up. The scenario that you and I had worked on for years trying to be able to get to a point that we can discover what’s happening and where we have duplication in government. Your team spends months working on things we should be able to pull up in seconds online, and we’re working towards that. OMB had some small pilots back in 2019-2020 on that. They now try to be able to advance on it. So I’ve got a couple questions, are you tracking week to week, month to month on the progress being made on Taxpayers Right-to-Know implementation? Are they on track to be able to make it by 2027?
Dodaro: We are tracking it, in fact our team has a meeting with OMB again tomorrow, we’re meeting on a regular basis with them. Whether they’re on track or not yet I think that’s an open question. They have these four additional demonstration pilots that they’re planning to do as you know. Their target is to finish those by 2025, but they’re contingent on getting enough resources. Whether they get the resources they believe they need or not I think is the biggest open question.
Lankford: My understanding is they’re looking at some of the pilot programs talking somewhere around $20 million to be able to run a pilot program for four of them. Am I remembering that number correctly?
Dodaro: I’m not sure Senator.
Lankford: That sounds like a big number to me to be able to run a pilot program.
Dodaro: Well, I’ve also encouraged them to go to the agencies to get help in this area through the various councils that are in place and they tap the executive branch agencies often to provide support and resources to help run these pilot kind of programs. So, but I think that’s the real key issue and what I’m keeping an eye on is whether or not they’re getting the resources directly or getting it from the agencies. And after a while, if I don’t see that on track I’ll definitely let you know.