ICYMI: Jordan calls for passage of Agency Accountability Act during Oversight hearing
On Thursday, December 1, Congressman Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform’s Subcommittee on Health Care, Benefits and Administrative Rules, co-chaired a hearing called, “Restoring the Power of the Purse: Legislative Options.”
During the hearing, Rep. Jordan focused on the fact that the federal government’s agencies collect billions of dollars in fees, fines and penalties, but that money is not overseen by Congress. The White House claims the annual amount in fees (total offsetting collections and receipts from the public) is over $500 billion, and an Oversight committee investigation found that over five years agencies collected over $80 billion in fines and penalties. Rep. Jordan called on Congress to pass Rep. Gary Palmer’s (R-Ala.) Agency Accountability Act (H.R. 5499), which would instead require federal agencies to deposit revenues from fees, fines and penalties into the general fund of the Treasury, allowing for congressional oversight.
During the hearing, witnesses were unable to give Rep. Jordan an annual amount that is collected by federal agencies, since the money is inadequately tracked. Rep. Jordan said of this news:
“No one seems to be able to give us an amount. We had a colleague ask: has it been increasing – the fees, the fines, the penalties, the settlements – has that number been going up? The answer is, from our panel: we don’t know. When asked the total amount in fees, fines, penalties and settlements the answer is: we don’t know. Maybe the best way to get the information is to pass Mr. Palmer’s legislation. Right? Because then we would know, because they’ve got to all send it to the general fund. … We pass this bill, now we’ll know. That makes the point why Mr. Palmer’s legislation is so good. Because we’ll know, and then we’ll know year to year if that number’s going up or down. This is why this is such a common-sense thing and so constitutional. And as Mr. (Hudson) Hollister said, states are doing this – they’re transparent. In Ohio we know what’s happening with fees and fines and penalties and settlements – it’s just the federal government we don’t know. All the more reason to pass the legislation. Then we’ll know.”
Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), chairman of the Subcommittee on Government Operations, also co-chaired the hearing. The hearing featured as witnesses Heather Krause, an acting director at the U.S. Government Accountability Office; Kevin Kosar, a senior fellow at R Street Institute; Hudson Hollister, executive director of the Data Coalition; and Stephen Kohn, executive director of the National Whistleblower Center.
VIDEO of Rep. Jordan’s first Q/A: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qiYfIWYcxG8
VIDEO of Rep. Jordan’s second Q/A: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wADx0edjnXM