Senators Lankford, Heitkamp Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Improve Transparency at More Than 70 Federal Agencies

WASHINGTON, DC – Senators James Lankford (R-OK) and Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) have introduced a bipartisan bill to require federal agency Inspectors General to publicly post their reform recommendations online, to improve transparency and better identify government waste. The Inspector General Recommendation Transparency Act would fill a gap in federal management and help Congress do a better job overseeing 73 federal agencies where Inspectors General conduct audits to combat waste, fraud, and abuse at their agencies.

As chairman and ranking member of the Senate Subcommittee on Regulatory Affairs and Federal Management, Lankford and Heitkamp have worked to make the federal government more efficient and effective. Posting Inspectors General recommendations publicly on their websites would give Congress, agencies, and the public the ability to better keep tabs on the problems that have been identified at agencies – and keep track of whether or not those problems have been resolved.

For every dollar invested in Inspectors General, there is the potential for $18 in savings for taxpayers, as the Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz testified at a December 2015 Senate hearing. Lankford and Heitkamp’s bipartisan bill would improve federal management by helping make sure the valuable recommendations by inspectors general are implemented.

“Federal agency Inspectors General do important work and often offer ideas to make government more effective and efficient, but these ideas do no good if they are ignored,” said Lankford. “The Inspector General Recommendation Transparency Act is important to ensure accountability and transparency for the reform proposals made by agencies’ Inspectors General. With a massive $19 trillion federal debt, the American public should be aware of all proposals to eliminate waste and reduce spending, especially from our Inspectors General.”

“Inspectors general do extensive work uncovering waste, fraud, and other problems at their agencies – and recommending improvements. Our bill would help make sure that once those recommendations are made, federal agencies follow through and make needed fixes,” said Heitkamp. “This bipartisan legislation would fill a gap Chairman Lankford and I saw in federal management at a Senate hearing we led last year. Posting inspectors general recommendations online will give agencies, Congress, and the public more opportunities for oversight, and help inspectors general save taxpayers even more money.”

In December 2015, Lankford and Heitkamp led a Subcommittee hearing on how federal departments and agencies implement recommendations from the U.S. Government Accountability Office and the offices of inspectors general. The federal government invests billions of dollars each year so inspectors general can create valuable recommendations for agencies, and the senators expressed concern about the need for more transparency and visibility in agencies’ efforts to resolve issues of waste, fraud, abuse and mismanagement as identified by inspectors general.

In March 2015, Lankford and Heitkamp launched their #CutRedTape Initiative to gather stories about how federal regulations are impacting Americans across the country every day, and work to improve these regulations by reducing waste, stopping backlogs, and cutting red tape.