By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Friday, February 3, 2017, US Representative Gary Palmer (R-Hoover) and conservative US Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah) introduced the Agency Accountability Act (AAA), requiring that 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 said in a statement, “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 said, “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.
The AAA has received support and accolades from the following organizations: FreedomWorks, R Street Institute, Americans for Tax Reform, and Americans for Limited Government.
A myriad of federal regulatory agencies stifling American farms and businesses has become a concern of many business and conservative grops.
Congress is also working to overturn a number of last minute new rules and regulations left over from the Obama Administration.
Congresswoman Martha Roby (R-Montgomery) said in an email to constituents, “Under the Congressional Review Act, Congress has 60 legislative days to pass a joint resolution disapproving any rule or regulation issued by a federal agency. As you may know, agencies pushed a load of last-minute regulations at the very end of President Obama’s term. With that 60-day window still open, last week the House passed resolutions to strike a number of unnecessary, big-government regulations.”
Representative Roby said, “Our founders set up a system of checks and balances to ensure that the government derives its power from the people – not the other way around. I’m excited about the opportunities that lie ahead for this President and this Congress to work alongside the Supreme Court to restore Constitutional order in our government.”
Congresswoman Roby strongly supports President Donald J. Trump’s nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the US Supreme Court.
Congressman Palmer represents Alabama’s Sixth Congressional District. Congresswoman Roby represents Alabama’s Second Congressional District.