Sen.. James Lankford, an Oklahoma Republican, has advanced a proposal embraced by virtually every one of his colleagues in both the House and the Senate.
So naturally the measure now languishes in that haven of dysfunction and inertia known as the U.S. Congress.
Rep. Lankford has introduced the Taxpayers Right-To-Know Act, a marvelous bill that would pull back the curtain on thousands of federal initiatives and perhaps impose a modicum of accountability on the bureaucracy that administers them.
The legislation demands that federal agencies provide a full accounting to taxpayers by identifying each program they oversee, the program’s purpose and cost, the number of beneficiaries and the staff — including contract workers — necessary to manage it. The information would be posted on each agency’s website.
The Congressional Budget Office estimates the bill would cost $100 million to implement over a four-year period, a pittance considering the billions that could be saved by exposing and identifying waste and duplication.
Sen. Lankford originally proposed the measure as a member of the House — and in 2014 the bill sailed through on a voice vote only to die in the Senate when then-Majority Leader Harry Reid wouldn’t allow a vote. This year, the Taxpayers Right-To-Know Act has already passed the House unanimously. But despite having graduated to the Senate last year, Sen. Lankford’s efforts to get a vote in the upper chamber remain stymied — and again Sen. Reid is the apparent culprit.
“There are some no-brainer bills that … get held up in the Senate over some other Senate fight,” he explained in a recent interview with The Stream, adding, “It’s currently [backed] 99-1 in the Senate.Harry Reid himself is holding it up … for whatever reason, we don’t know.”
Sen. Reid’s office didn’t respond to an email seeking comment, but if he has indeed placed a hold on this popular, bipartisan measure, Nevadans warrant an explanation. This taxpayer-friendly legislation deserves better than to fall victim to Senate politics.