The newly reorganized Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, traditionally one of the more bipartisan panels of Congress, has made one of its early priorities a bipartisan bill that came close to enactment last year, sponsored by the now-chairman, Gary Peters, D-Mich., and ranking Republican, Rob Portman of Ohio.
The legislation (S-272) aims improve government transparency by requiring federal agencies to publish easily understandable justifications for their budget requests on a single, central website each year. “Congressional budget justifications are plain-language explanations of how agencies propose to spend money that they request from Congressional appropriators. The materials would also be posted on each agency’s website,” they said in a summary of the bill.
The bill also would require OMB to keep an updated list of agencies that are expected to submit budget justifications, the date of submission to Congress, the date the justification is posted online, and a link to the materials online.
The committee approved a similar bill last year as did the full House but it fell short of enactment in the full Senate.