New Transparency Bill Would Shine Light Into Appropriations Process

Earlier this March, Rep. Glenn Grothman (R-WI) introduced the Appropriations Transparency Act, which would allow taxpayers to better understand how the federal spending process impacts the nation’s finances. Under current law, the Congressional Budget Act, which established and organized the nonpartisan fiscal scorekeeper Congressional Budget Office (CBO), exempts the Appropriations Committees from mandated budget scoring on legislation. This bill would simply remove this exemption, and therefore require legislation from the House and Senate Appropriations Committees to receive scoring.

Budget scoring is crucial for helping congressional offices and the public better understand the fiscal impacts of legislation, since the CBO process includes detailed estimates of how specific provisions will impact spending outlays over time, usually a ten-year period. Since bills coming from appropriations committees dictate federal spending and usually also include policy riders or other substantive changes to government policy, it’s crucial that these bills also receive unbiased scorekeeping. Rep. Grothman should be applauded for this legislation that will shine light into the normally confusing appropriations process.