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What is the Government Spending Accountability Act?

Updated on September 20, 2013

The fact that this act has been generated and passed by the House of Representatives on July 31, 2013 raises some questions about how the government in the past accounted for the money it spends. Government accountability in the spending department has been needed for a long time but the purpose of this act may surprise those who are unfamiliar with it and the content.

This act H.R. 313 is one of the shortest pieces of legislation that I have seen in a long time. Currently the act is just nine pages but the requirements within it aim to bring some accountability to taxes used to attend conferences. It is an effort to curtail the bad publicity some have received in recent weeks. It now goes to the Senate for action and it is hoped that it will pass and head for the President’s signature. Recently there have been reports in the media about misuse of government funds by various departments to attend conferences some of which have been quite expensive.

I applaud those who were involved with the creation of this legislation and those who voted for it. Government accountability has long been a problem and the spending culture in Congress not just by the various departments and agencies has been a problem which most if not all citizens realize. While this act addresses conferences there should either be additions to it or a separate piece of legislation to address the need for accountability for spending tax dollars on other projects/programs.

We should hold our elected officials accountable for all the taxes they spend. The economic situation in our country and the fact that another vote needs to be made to raise the debt limit involves accountability to the taxpayer. I do not disagree that the debt limit may need to be raised but our financial house needs to be put in order so that we do not spend more than is received. Many times we have been informed of what has been deemed wasteful spending sometimes millions of dollars on projects which appear to have no common sense. Some say getting rid of these types of projects would not make a dent into the financial woes of our country but it would be a start.

I have stated in the past and will state it again there needs to be some criteria before any legislation makes it to the full house or Senate for a vote. In some cases legislation is held at the committee level and do not reach the point of receiving a vote and in other cases they do not make it out of committee when they serve a valid need. It comes down to politics to some extent. All elected officials in Washington need to quit playing politics with our tax dollars. Granted the culture in Congress has been there for a long time but it needs to change. The question is whether it will change. The answer is it will only change when we the people force the change to occur. We should not continually reelect our Senators and/or Representatives if they are not playing politics with our money. This may be like looking for a needle in a haystack as some may say but there are those individuals who are trying to do the right thing by us and our country.

Individuals elected to Congress do not lack intelligence as there are many well educated individuals who have made the decision to serve our country in this capacity. Being well educated does not mean they will not make bad decisions or make mistakes but if they learn from those mistakes that is the kind of individuals we need to represent us in Washington. Congress needs to listen to the will of the people and do the right thing by us. One of the major purposes of Congress is to address the needs of our country and make our lives better not worse. This goes not only for our elected officials but those writing regulations and creating rules in conjunction with laws passed by Congress and signed by the President.

Political agendas have no place in the legislative process or in the rules and regulations which implement legislative requirements. There can be exceptions to political agendas if it there are agendas when the public through their votes send a message that this is what they want to happen through those they have elected. Sometimes the message is misinterpreted when individuals are elected. Decisions made by all government officials whether they are elected, appointed or hired must or should consider the impact of any decision they make. They need to put themselves in the public’s position as to how they would feel if they had to live with the decisions they make

The upcoming 2014 election will not only be about political agendas but the spending culture of Congress. Those we elect or reelect must understand that the reckless spending must stop. Congress has certain responsibilities as mentioned earlier the most important of which is making our lives better not worse. Many of the laws passed by Congress over several presidencies have made matters worse. It is time to get not only the spending under control but the legislative agendas. One thing which must be understood is that any legislative action costs money to monitor and enforce in addition to costing us as individuals to ensure we do not violate the laws being generated. This costs money to businesses which could be better served to hire additional workers and/or expand their operations. Spending accountability must be implemented whether it is through this legislative action or another. It is the only way we can start a path to sound fiscal responsibility.


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