Congressman Palmer introduces Agency Accountability Act

Published 3:37 pm Thursday, February 14, 2019


WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Gary Palmer (R-Alabama) has introduced H.R. 850, the Agency Accountability Act, which would require unappropriated funds collected by federal agencies to be transferred to the U.S. Treasury and subject to the appropriations process.


“This legislation would bring needed transparency and oversight back to our government and would hold federal agencies accountable,” Palmer said. “Though agencies are allowed to collect money outside of their appropriated funds, Congress has little say in how it is spent. While passage of the Agency Accountability Act would not necessarily deprive agencies of these funds, it would reestablish the responsibility of Congress to appropriate them.

“Passage of H.R. 850 would be an important step toward restoring congressional oversight through the appropriations process. Congress must reclaim its power of the purse as granted by the Constitution, and this legislation would be progress towards that.”

Over time, Congress has granted agencies the authority to collect fines, fees and other revenues outside of appropriated funds. According to the Office of Management and Budget, the federal government collected $516 billion in user fees alone in 2015. Some of these funds are used by agencies to self-fund, making agencies unaccountable for certain acts and has considerably limited congressional oversight.

For example, fines and penalties make up 15 percent of the total budget of the Department of Justice. Of the $63.7 billion in funds collected, DOJ retains almost $27.4 billion.

Palmer previously introduced the Agency Accountability Act in the 114th and 115th Congresses. It has received support from the following organizations: FreedomWorks, Heritage Action, R Street Institute, Americans for Tax Reform, and Americans for Limited Government.