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house Bill H.R. 1033

Do Agencies Need to Publish How Much They Pay Out in Legal Fees in Cases They Lose?

Argument in favor

Taxpayers have a right to know how much federal agencies pay out in legal fees to reimburse plaintiffs who successfully sue an agency for taking improper action.

Barbara's Opinion
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02/27/2017
Financial transparency is critical to a functional democracy.
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Alis's Opinion
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02/27/2017
Sigh. I suspect this is a total waste of money. Another anti-government bill to undermine the work of the people. I can't think of a rational argument against it so YEA. BUT the Member pushing this is GA Republican. When has that ever worked out for the good of the citizens of the United States?
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Tafinzer's Opinion
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03/07/2017
Of course it should be published and reported. Losing lawsuits as a federal agency is a barometer of their effectiveness and or failures. Transparency in financial losses of these agencies should always be reported.
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Argument opposed

There's no need for federal agencies to keep a public record of what legal fees they pay to settle a suit when the agency was wrong because there's already media coverage of it.

Cade's Opinion
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02/27/2017
This smells of anti-EPA, anti-government right-wing meddling.
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John's Opinion
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02/27/2017
Why only in cases in which they lose? Why not also in cases in which they win? What's the point of this law?
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ShePersisted's Opinion
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02/27/2017
To quote Peter, this bill is but another example of "Federal Agency bashing and a subtle attack on those "litigious" litigators who win those huge fees. It's designed as a disincentive and creates an administrative cost of time and money when "good" Conservatives should be looking for ways to reduce costs. Is this really the most important issue facing Congress right now? Feels like filler brought to you by Paul Ryan as he plans to dump a motherload of legislation all at once to avoid debate and deliberation. Once again, bad faith, worst practices not best practices, and an abuse of power with contempt for the People." Please vote no.
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    Financial transparency is critical to a functional democracy.
    Like (191)
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    This smells of anti-EPA, anti-government right-wing meddling.
    Like (70)
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    While I'm in favor of transparency, I wonder what the catch is with this bill. Obviously, part of the catch is that publishing the cases when the federal government loses in court but not the cases when the federal government wins will tend to create the impression that the government loses more often than it wins. Perhaps we could get an amendment to this bill to require that the same database include the financial details of all resolved (won, lost, or settled) cases in which the federal government is a party?
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    Sigh. I suspect this is a total waste of money. Another anti-government bill to undermine the work of the people. I can't think of a rational argument against it so YEA. BUT the Member pushing this is GA Republican. When has that ever worked out for the good of the citizens of the United States?
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    Why only in cases in which they lose? Why not also in cases in which they win? What's the point of this law?
    Like (67)
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    To quote Peter, this bill is but another example of "Federal Agency bashing and a subtle attack on those "litigious" litigators who win those huge fees. It's designed as a disincentive and creates an administrative cost of time and money when "good" Conservatives should be looking for ways to reduce costs. Is this really the most important issue facing Congress right now? Feels like filler brought to you by Paul Ryan as he plans to dump a motherload of legislation all at once to avoid debate and deliberation. Once again, bad faith, worst practices not best practices, and an abuse of power with contempt for the People." Please vote no.
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    Of course it should be published and reported. Losing lawsuits as a federal agency is a barometer of their effectiveness and or failures. Transparency in financial losses of these agencies should always be reported.
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    Vote no on HR 1033. To report only the cost of losing cases is not transparency. This is an effort to paint those who bring lawsuits in a bad light. As citizens we have the right to bring cases against government agencies.
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    Paying settlements with taxpayers dollars should be accounted for and reported publicly an annual basis.
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    Through transparency, we let the taxpayer know what big government does with their money.
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    Obviously, full disclosure on law suit payouts. The Federal Government uses the power of the purse to force the accused to fold under the enormous expense of legal fees. The plaintiff can keep pushing the governments up the legal chain until the accused is broke and destitute. They may have a winning case in the end, but loose by financial exhaustion. A past lawyer friend said anyone who sues him will die of old age before winning his case. So the idea of this question is we the taxpayer needs to know "why" the government pursued a loosing case and now much of our tax money was spent.
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    Say a corporation loses a case over a divisive issue (i.e. land use, property rights, anything related to the first or second amendments) the once big bad corporation will be seen as the victim once it's revealed they lost tons of money to whatever state or federal agency that beat them in court. Who does this bill benefit?
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    Why would they NOT do this??
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    Should be public record. Why hide it?
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    HR 1033. So called transparency but only for cases lost by government agencies. Who thought up this little piece of spite? A representative of the party that wants to downsize government, of course. Such hypocrisy! How much of our money was wasted on investigating Bengazi, emails and more emails? Vote No!
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    It sounds good at first but if you think about it you'll realize it's an attempt to antagonize regulating agencies to the benefit of the right wing.
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    This is just a way to undermine agencies working for the common good with numbers that scare people but are less than a drop in the bucket of military spending.
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    According to the office of Rep. Cynthia Lummis (R-WY): "Congress passed the Equal Access to Justice Act (EAJA) as a means to help individuals, retirees, veterans, and small businesses recover attorney’s fees and costs associated with suing the federal government. Congress intended EAJA to remove a barrier to justice for those with limited access to the resources it takes to sue or defend against the federal government." That is all well and good, but if I'm not mistaken, the money being paid out is ultimately coming out of the taxpayers' pockets! Therefore, I agree with Sponsoring Rep. Doug Collins, who introduced this bill to ensure that federal agencies keep an open record of how much they're paying out in legal settlements and whether the payments are justified. https://cohen.house.gov/media-center/press-releases/cohen-collins-introduce-open-book-equal-access-justice-act-increase If the House passes this bill and the Senate then sits on it and lets it die, I'm going to be pretty ticked off!
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    "Congress passed the Equal Access to Justice Act (EAJA) as a means to help individuals, retirees, veterans, and small businesses recover attorney’s fees and costs associated with suing the federal government. Congress intended EAJA to remove a barrier to justice for those with limited access to the resources it takes to sue or defend against the federal government." Agreed. The Feds have too much power to destroy individuals and small businesses. This is not fair and our representatives in Congress have given us a powerful tool to protect against federal government aggression.
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    This seems like a very one-sided effort and I would definitely be for the transparency if it were evenhanded.
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