Cuellar Budget Bill Would Audit Federal Programs
Legislation Praised at Congressional Hearing Examining Federal Finances
Today, performance-based budgeting legislation, authored by Congressman Henry Cuellar (TX-28), was center-stage at a House congressional hearing reviewing the oversight of federal financial management. The legislation calls for the nation’s federal programs to be assessed at least once every five years to ensure that federal taxpayer dollars are spent in an effective way.Today, performance-based budgeting legislation, authored by Congressman Henry Cuellar (TX-28), was center-stage at a House congressional hearing reviewing the oversight of federal financial management. The legislation calls for the nation’s federal programs to be assessed at least once every five years to ensure that federal taxpayer dollars are spent in an effective way.
Congressman Cuellar championed similar budget legislation into Texas law during his time as a Texas State Representative in the 1990s.
“This common-sense legislation will bring to light the efficiency and effectiveness of federal programs. By assessing their performance, we can make better, more informed decisions in funding these programs,” said Congressman Cuellar. “Americans live by budget principles everyday as they try to get the most for their hard-earned money. This should be a guiding principle in Washington.”
H.R. 2142, The Government Efficiency, Effectiveness and Performance Improvement Act of 2009, would also require each federal program to submit public performance assessments to determine how effectively they meet established goals. In addition, annual assessment reports would be made available to Congress in conjunction with the President’s annual budget to provide members of Congress with critical information on federal agencies’ strengths and weaknesses.
Congressman Cuellar introduced the legislation last year with fellow Blue Dog Coalition colleague Congressman Dennis Moore from Kansas. This January, the Blue Dog Coalition included the legislation as a critical component of the Blue Dog Blueprint for Fiscal Reform. The group of fiscally-conservative Democrats has advocated the 15 point plan as a framework for reducing wasteful and unnecessary government spending and as a way to reduce the national deficit.
“America’s small businesses make choices every day about how to maximize the effectiveness of often very limited resources. Similarly, the federal government should be making the tough decisions necessary in order to make the most out of every single taxpayer dollar,” said Representative Jim Matheson, Blue Dog Co-Chair for Communications. “The Blue Dogs will continue to champion this commonsense legislation as part of our larger effort to advance elements of our comprehensive blueprint for fiscal reform.”
When he served in the Texas State Legislature in the 1990s, Congressman Cuellar helped author similar legislation that is now Texas law. Other states, including North Carolina, Florida, Oregon, Louisiana and Minnesota have set forth similar budget performance guidelines to streamline state-spending.
“Texas’ fiscal accountability system is the foremost system of its type of any state,” said John Barton representing the Texas Legislative Budget Board in his testimony to the Subcommittee on Wednesday.
“During the past 15 years, 28 delegations of foreign government officials representing 38 countries have travelled to Austin to learn how Texas has implemented strategic planning, performance budgeting and performance monitoring,” Barton said.
Wednesday’s hearing was the second congressional hearing advocating Congressman Cuellar’s performance-based budgeting legislation.
“If Congress moves on this bill, we will immediately have a government-wide framework to measure the efficiency of our federal programs,” said Congressman Cuellar. “This has worked in Texas and it’s good for the rest of the country. Americans understand what it means to be fiscally responsible.”
Congressman Henry Cuellar is a member of the U.S. House Homeland Security, Agriculture, and Government Oversight & Reform Committees in the 111th Congress. Accessibility to constituents, education, health care, economic development, and national security are his priorities. Congressman Cuellar is also a Senior Whip and member of the Blue Dog Coalition.