Americans are rightly frustrated by a government that thinks it knows best. These frustrations are a symptom of the People losing our power to ensure every penny of taxpayer money and every decision by federal agencies are subject to citizens’ scrutiny.

That’s why I have reintroduced the USA Act, legislation to restore the “power of the purse” to the American people. The USA Act eliminates unauthorized spending — any spending on government programs that hasn’t been reauthorized by the people’s representatives.
Perhaps CNN’s Jake Tapper says it best: These are Zombie Government Programs — programs that I believe prevent “We the People” from exercising our power of the purse.


History of the USA Act

In 2016, Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA-05), Chair of the House Republican Conference, introduced legislation to restore the “power of the purse” to the American people as outlined in Article I of the Constitution. The USA Act of 2016 eliminates unauthorized spending — spending on government programs that hasn’t been authorized by the people’s representatives.
“The Founding Fathers intended a government ‘deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,”’ McMorris Rodgers said. “As we build a bold, forward-looking agenda, a top priority is to restore the voice of ‘We, the People.’ We hear the frustrations of families and individuals whose power to make the best decisions for themselves has been taken away by a government that thinks it knows best and isn’t being held accountable.
“These frustrations are a symptom of the people losing their power to ensure every penny of taxpayer money is subject to citizens’ scrutiny and accountability. Too much of the government is currently on autopilot, and it’s time to challenge the status quo.
“A big part of the problem is due to what people in Washington, D.C. call ‘unauthorized spending’ — spending on government programs that have not been authorized by the people’s representatives. This means that the American people are prevented from exercising their power of the purse. When unauthorized spending is stopped through the USA Act, it will reclaim power for every man, woman, and child in this country.”

Learn more about the USA Act of 2017


What people are saying about the USA Act

“Thankfully there are some members who are willing to stand up for good governance and reining in spending. […] The Unauthorized Spending Accountability Act (USA Act) lends guidance to many conservatives’ wishes of restoring regular order and accountability to the budget process. Lawmakers that are serious about reversing the trend of runaway spending in Washington should support McMorris Rodgers’s legislation that gets at the heart of the problem of unauthorized spending.”

Americans for Prosperity

“CCAGW has long supported the enactment of sunset legislation. The USA Act is an important step toward the goal of subject all federal programs and agencies to a periodic review. The number and cost of unauthorized programs is now equal to more than half of the non-defense discretionary budget, which is unnecessary and unacceptable. The USA Act will compel authorizing committees to do their job more effectively and give taxpayers a much better idea of which programs are effective or essential, and which should be eliminated or pared back.”

Citizens Against Government Waste

“The USA Act is an excellent piece of legislation that will bring more accountability and oversight to federal spending. National Taxpayers Union is pleased to endorse this bill, the passage of which would be a huge win for taxpayers.”

National Taxpayers Union

“The Unauthorized Spending Accountability (USA) Act is an obvious step toward getting our fiscal house in order. Unauthorized appropriations are an increasingly large chunk of the federal budget, and our nearly $20 trillion national debt necessitates that we take action. The USA Act is a straightforward option for getting Congress to follow its own rules, and we strongly urge every member of Congress to support this legislation.”

Coalition to Reduce Spending

“Separation of powers is one of the United States government’s most basic principles. But for several decades, presidents from both parties have gradually concentrated more and more power in the executive branch, at the expense of Congress and the judiciary. A bill introduced today from Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.), the Unauthorized Spending Accountability (USA) Act of 2017, seeks to rebalance a tilted scale. It would tackle unauthorized executive branch programs, hold Congress accountable for those programs, and create a commission to assess proper oversight of mandatory spending programs. Restoring a proper separation of powers is a tall order and the USA Act is no panacea for all of government’s ills, but it would mark an important step in a crucial area of reform.”

Competitive Enterprise Institute

“We hear consistent promises from people seeking elected office to fix Washington spending. Unfortunately, few are willing or able to put their words into action once they assume office. The Unauthorized Spending Accountability Act is a notable exception. Americans for Prosperity is proud to support your effort to solve the problem of unauthorized spending, and we encourage your colleagues to support it.”

Americans for Prosperity

“CCAGW congratulates Conference Chair McMorris Rodgers for her leadership on this vital legislation. She has worked hard to introduce a bill that should be supported by every member of Congress that cares about accountability and transparency. It is unfortunate that this legislation is even necessary, because the authorization process should be functioning as intended. Nonetheless, the USA Act should be moved quickly through the House and then the Senate so that taxpayers can at least see some progress in this area of government spending.”

Citizens Against Government Waste

See the full list of outside supporters