Today Congressman Gary Palmer (R-AL) and Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) introduced the Agency Accountability Act (AAA), requiring all fines, fees, penalties, and other unappropriated funds collected by federal agencies to be transferred to the Treasury, and subject to the appropriations process.
Congressman Gary Palmer:
"For too long Congress has granted federal agencies the authority to collect fines, fees and other revenues outside of their appropriated funds with little to no Congressional oversight on how the monies are spent. Congress' power of the purse is exclusive and absolute and we must begin reclaiming our Article I authority. I am proud to team up with my colleague Senator Mike Lee on this important piece of legislation in both the House and Senate. "
Senator Mike Lee:
"Over time, Congress has given away their power to raise funds to the executive, allowing federal agencies to collect fines, fees, and other revenues outside of the normal appropriations process," Sen. Lee said. "While a significant portion of these fees and funds are used to offset appropriations, agencies have been known to use some of the fees to self-fund programs that have not necessarily been approved by Congress. This bill is an important step towards increasing transparency, simply by bringing all funds back where they belong -- under congressional oversight and authority."
A sizable portion of the fines, fees and other revenues are used by agencies to self-fund programs or operations outside of the normal appropriations process. For example, entities such as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC) receive no appropriated funds from Congress. According to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), in 2015 the federal government collected $516 billion in user fees alone. The Agency Accountability Act would allow Congress to effectively assert the power of the purse over the actions of federal agencies and bring more transparency and accountability to the federal government.
AAA has received support and accolades from the following organizations: FreedomWorks, R Street Institute, Americans for Tax Reform, and Americans for Limited Government.
Congressman Palmer and Senator Lee previously introduced AAA in the 114th Congress.