We have a fiscal crisis in America today — too much of the federal government is on autopilot. 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.
The USA Act aims to restore the American people’s “power of the purse” by eliminating unauthorized spending or “Zombie” programs — spending on government programs that haven’t been authorized by the people’s representatives in Congress. This bill is simple, it ensures that every penny of taxpayer money is subject to the scrutiny of the American people. It means that the people representatives are doing their jobs to effectively review, rethink, and possibly eliminate programs that are no longer needed. It means restoring the power of the purse and ending unauthorized spending.
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.
Read my op-ed for CNN on why we need to beware of these zombie programs by clicking here.
First introduced in 2016, the USA Act aims to restore the “power of the purse” to the America people as outlined in Article I of the Constitution. The numbers are staggering. “Zombie” government spending programs — those programs which have not been reauthorized by the people’s representatives in Congress — account for roughly $310 billion in government spending, according to a report by the Congressional Budget Office.
What all of this means is that too much of the federal government is on autopilot, and it is preventing the American people from exercising their authority to review, rethink, and possibly eliminate government programs.
Over the last several decades — under both parties’ watch — federal departments and agencies significantly increased the scope of their rulemaking. When left unchecked by congressional oversight and not given the go-ahead by the people’s representatives, bureaucrats took it upon themselves to become lawmakers. That’s an overreach they embraced with fervor.
The American people should feel empowered through their elected representatives, but more and more they are feeling their will is ignored. With the USA Act, we can reclaim much of this authority and keep the slimy, overreaching hands of zombie government programs at bay.
In the 115th Congress, the USA Act had 39 cosponsors and numerous outside groups voicing support.
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
With the national debt at over $22 trillion and counting, Congress must work on streamlining and reducing government spending as much as possible… [The USA Act] is an important piece of taxpayer-friendly legislation that sets Congress back on a path of fiscal accountability. Congress should swiftly pass it, and President Trump should sign it into law.
“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.”
“Authorization and appropriation are separate in the “regular order” budget process to ensure that programs are evaluated before receiving taxpayer dollars. This makes it harder for Congress to waste money on ineffective, self-serving, or controversial programs. If Congress continues to ignore or selectively enforce this process, billions of dollars will continue to flow to agencies and programs with little to no oversight. Heritage Action supports this legislation and encourages members of Congress to support it.”
View more letters of support by clicking here.