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Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006

Location: Washington, DC



Mr. COBURN. Mr. President, Senators BARACK OBAMA, TOM CARPER, JOHN MCCAIN, and I earlier this year introduced S. 2590, the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006, to bring increased transparency to the way the Federal Government spends taxpayer money. Transparency means allowing citizens to access accurate information on Federal spending decisions in a timely fashion for the purpose of keeping their elected officials accountable. Outside of protecting national security and individual privacy, there is no reason why the operations of all Federal agencies should not be widely known by as many as would like to know. It is because this belief is widely shared by the American people as well as many in this body that S. 2590 has gained the cosponsorship of dozens of Senators.

I believe, though, that transparency in Government decisionmaking should not be limited simply to spending, but should also be extended to the decisions Congress makes about the Tax Code. The Tax Code is currently tens of thousands of pages in length and far too confusing for even IRS customer service agents to understand, let alone the average citizen with far less expertise. Because I believe that transparency is one of the best tools we have to curb wasteful behavior, I look forward working with Senator FRANK LAUTENBERG to develop bipartisan legislation like S. 2590 that will bring increased transparency to the Tax Code by allowing the American public to understand the real world effects of the Tax Code. Tax Code matters are extremely complex and the American public has a right to know how the Tax Code affects them. American taxpayers also deserve to know if they are paying higher taxes in order to offset the loss of revenue due to special treatment for special interest groups. This is a complex issue that will require careful study. It is my intention to address this issue in a future hearing of the Subcommittee on Federal Financial Management, Government Information, and International Security. I believe that a hearing addressing this issue will help us all to better understand the ultimate effects of targeted tax expenditures. Further study will also help to inform us on how to fully address the issue of greater transparency.

I thank Senator LAUTENBERG for his attention to this issue and I look forward to working with him and Senator OBAMA to promote increased Government transparency. As Thomas Jefferson wrote back in 1802, ``We might hope to see the finances of the Union as clear and intelligible as a merchant's books, so that every member of Congress and every man of any mind in the Union should be able to comprehend them, to investigate abuses, and consequently to control them.''

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