Oversight Committee Approves Bills on Debt, Jobs, and Transparency

November 17, 2011

WASHINGTON- The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee approved four bills designed to save taxpayer money, reduce unfunded mandates, and ensure transparency in government spending decisions and Presidential Records.

• H.R. 665, the Excess Federal Building and Property Disposal Act of 2011– Approved on a bipartisan voice vote. The bill will create a pilot program to sell excess federal real estate, using 98% of the profits from the sales for debt reduction. The bill was introduced by Oversight Subcommittee Chairman Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah. The Committee accepted an amendment in nature of a substitute offered by Rep. Mike Quigley, D-Ill., to incorporate provisions of legislation he had introduced this Congress.

• H.R. 3433, the Grant Reform and New Transparency (Grant) Act of 2011– Approved by a voice vote. The legislation, introduced by Oversight Subcommittee on Technology and Information Policy Chairman James Lankford, R-Okla., directs agencies to establish uniform standards for how they notice, award, and disclose the tens of billions of taxpayer dollars spent each year through 1,670 discretionary grant programs.

• H.R. 373, the Unfunded Mandates Information and Transparency Act of 2011– Approved on a roll call vote of 22-12. The legislation was introduced by Rep. Virginia Foxx, R-NC, earlier this year. The Committee accepted an amendment in nature of a substitute from Subcommittee Chairman Lankford. As amended, the legislation will close loopholes left by the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (UMRA). Among other changes, the bill requires more comprehensive cost estimates of newly proposed regulations, directs independent agencies to comply with UMRA, and ensures that agencies consult with the private sector in the development of significant federal regulatory mandates.

• H.R. 3071, the Presidential Records Act Amendments of 2011– Approved on a voice vote. The legislation was introduced by Rep. Edolphus Towns, D-NY, to ensure information is archived electronically. The Committee accepted an amendment in the nature of a substitute from Chairman Issa, which improves and updates the federal recordkeeping process, and an amendment from OGR Subcommittee Chairman Patrick McHenry, R-NC, which prohibits the use of “any non-official electronic mail account, program, or system” for official purposes by employees of the President and Vice President.

Chairman Issa and Ranking Member Elijah Cummings, D-Md., pledged at the end of the hearing to work on bipartisan legislation to reduce the number of underutilized congressionally mandated reports prepared by federal agencies.

Full markup details will be available shortly at http://oversight.house.gov.