Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers introduced H.R. 4730, known as the Unauthorized Spending Accountability (USA) Act. The purpose of this measure is to sunset unauthorized programs and ensure that programs cannot continue without an authorized spending schedule.
The act proposes to schedule a sunset for any unauthorized programs beginning in fiscal year 2016. These programs will be specifically targeted by using the Congressional Budget Office’s “Unauthorized Appropriations and Expiring Authorizations” report.
This legislation would place an additional check on congressional spending and, thus, the national purse by requiring a regular authorization of federally funded programs. Ideally, this measure will provide for greater transparency and oversight by further democratizing the expenditure process and hold our members of Congress accountable for approved spending. According to the Congressional Budget Office, last year more than $300 billion were appropriated to programs that are no longer authorized.
The act would create a commission that would review federal spending, both discretionary and mandatory spending. This commission will allow more flexibility and accountability for Congress to be more effective in their spending. At a press conference announcing the USA Act, Congresswoman McMorris Rodgers stated that “too much of the government is on autopilot and its time we challenge that status quo.” Her goal with this bill is to “review, rethink and perhaps eliminate government programs.”
This legislation would address both backlogged programs as well as current programs. The three-year authorization schedule would force legislators to address and re-address legislation that was ineffective or inefficient. H.R. 4730 is an example of a tangible policy that can reign in government spending at the federal level and, hopefully, limit intrusions on fiscal federalism.