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house Bill H.R. 4730

Phasing Out Federal "Zombie" Programs in 3 Years

Argument in favor

Federal programs that haven't been reauthorized shouldn’t continue to spend taxpayer dollars if Congress hasn’t extended them. Winding down those programs over a three-year period and cutting their funding gives Congress time to consider reauthorizing and saves taxpayer money.

operaman's Opinion
···
04/01/2016
Phasing out in 3 years? 3 years is to long. Funds run out at the end of the Bill. Sorry federal employees. Time is up my friends. The end comes when the dollars end. END-END is the end. NO PHASING OUT. when the fat lady sings, it's the end of the opera. Live with it, cause the taxpayers have to.
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wsdraperv's Opinion
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04/03/2016
This may be the only way to ever end any federal program. Do it
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BTSundra's Opinion
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04/01/2016
This is a "no duh" in keeping down government waste.
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Argument opposed

Congress fails to do its job on-time with stunning regularity, and that shouldn’t prevent unauthorized programs from continuing to receive funding and operate as they normally would. Lawmakers can already cut off or eliminate programs they feel should be stopped.

wpeckham's Opinion
···
04/03/2016
I agree in principle, but in practice this would be terrible. We need to stop making excuses for congress not to act. All of them Republican Democrat and independent need to settle down and do the job
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Nancy's Opinion
···
04/02/2016
I find proposals like this coming from officials often voted in with a minority of votes, and elected in by a seriously misinformed public to be suspect. ANY bill coming from Congress today should be closely scrutinized for fraud and lack of substance. I suspect this bill is designed to get rid of programs that are effective but don't substantiate the extreme rightwing views that our Congress has today. Considering that Congress no longer represents the majority of us, our views or our social and economic needs, I would strongly oppose voting for this without an in depth, detailed, nonpartisan analysis. Unfortunately too many of us don't think deeply about the consequences and if it sounds "good" we say yeah, go for it. Without fully understanding the implications that is a dangerous and naive path to take.
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Alis's Opinion
···
04/01/2016
Since Congress has amply demonstrated its inability to do anything substantive for the American citizens who put them in office, this legislation needs to stay in place. We can no longer rely on elected officials to act responsibly so we need fail safe programs to keep our shared lives functioning while the toddlers argue about the Bible & how Ayn Rand thought the US economy should be run.
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bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
  • The house has not voted
      house Committees
      Committee on Appropriations
      Committee on the Budget
      Committee on Oversight and Reform
      Committee on Rules
    IntroducedMarch 14th, 2016

What is House Bill H.R. 4730?

This bill would give all expired and unauthorized federal programs that still receive funding three years to close up shop. During those three years, funding for those programs would be cut substantially over the following two years. 

If the unauthorized program or agency is reauthorized at any point during the three years after this bill’s enactment, funding reductions and sunset clauses would be lifted and the program could operate at full funding.

The three-year path to the end of all programs that are unauthorized (or "zombie" programs, as this bill calls them) would be triggered as soon as this legislation is enacted. All reauthorizations would have to include a sunset clause. During the first year, zombie programs would face a 10 percent funding reduction (aka sequester) and receive only 90 percent of the funding they were allocated in the program’s original expiration year. In the second and third years the sequester would rise to 15 percent, before the program’s final expiration at the end of the third year.

A Spending Accountability Commission (SAC) would be created and charged with: 

  • Making a full authorization schedule of all discretionary programs and agencies;
  • Reviewing mandatory spending programs; 
  • And determining mandatory spending cuts. 

SAC could propose a new sequester (or funding cut) schedule to Congress for consideration. In order to override a sequester, the SAC would have to report mandatory cuts in an equal amount that Congress could then consider enacting.

Impact

Anyone concerned with unauthorized government spending; federal programs funded by unauthorized spending; the to-be-formed SAC; and Congress.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 4730

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.

More Information

Of Note: According to a report by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), $310 billion was appropriated to be spent on programs with expired authorization for fiscal year 2016. This was after $294 billion was spent on such programs the prior year.


In-Depth: Sponsoring Rep. Cathy McMorris-Rodgers (R-WA) introduced this bill to prevent taxpayer dollars from going to "zombie" federal programs that continue to operate after their spending authorization has expired:

“Too much of government is currently on autopilot, and it’s time to challenge the status quo. A big part of the problem is due to what people in Washington, D.C. call ‘unauthorized spending’ — spending on government programs that have not been authorized by the people’s representatives. This means that the American people are prevented from exercising their power of the purse.”

This legislation currently has the support of 38 Republican cosponsors in the House.


Media:

Summary by Eric Revell
(Photo Credit: Flickr user Kurtis Garbutt)

AKA

Unauthorized Spending Accountability Act

Official Title

To provide for a congressional reauthorizing schedule for unauthorized Federal programs, and for other purposes.

    Phasing out in 3 years? 3 years is to long. Funds run out at the end of the Bill. Sorry federal employees. Time is up my friends. The end comes when the dollars end. END-END is the end. NO PHASING OUT. when the fat lady sings, it's the end of the opera. Live with it, cause the taxpayers have to.
    Like (21)
    Follow
    Share
    I agree in principle, but in practice this would be terrible. We need to stop making excuses for congress not to act. All of them Republican Democrat and independent need to settle down and do the job
    Like (39)
    Follow
    Share
    I find proposals like this coming from officials often voted in with a minority of votes, and elected in by a seriously misinformed public to be suspect. ANY bill coming from Congress today should be closely scrutinized for fraud and lack of substance. I suspect this bill is designed to get rid of programs that are effective but don't substantiate the extreme rightwing views that our Congress has today. Considering that Congress no longer represents the majority of us, our views or our social and economic needs, I would strongly oppose voting for this without an in depth, detailed, nonpartisan analysis. Unfortunately too many of us don't think deeply about the consequences and if it sounds "good" we say yeah, go for it. Without fully understanding the implications that is a dangerous and naive path to take.
    Like (19)
    Follow
    Share
    Since Congress has amply demonstrated its inability to do anything substantive for the American citizens who put them in office, this legislation needs to stay in place. We can no longer rely on elected officials to act responsibly so we need fail safe programs to keep our shared lives functioning while the toddlers argue about the Bible & how Ayn Rand thought the US economy should be run.
    Like (12)
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    Share
    Government cuts shouldn't be done on autopilot. If Congress wants to eliminate a program, vote to do it and go on record.
    Like (12)
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    I see both sides, but I'd rather programs keep being funded until Congress actively removes their funding than for a program to lose funding just because Congress never gets around to doing its job. Who knows what the impact might be of some of these needed programs carelessly losing funding!
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    Are our "Representatives" trying to prove they are a do nothing, massively wasteful and incompetent body. News flash - we already know that. Here's a radical idea - actually do the job.
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    There hasn't been a single significant piece of legislation passed since the GOP took control of congress. Each year they fight and squabble over the budget. This would essentially allow them to phase out any program they don't like simply by ignoring it for three years, if they can't get rid of it manually.
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    This is a "no duh" in keeping down government waste.
    Like (5)
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    This may be the only way to ever end any federal program. Do it
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    All federal government programs are wasteful and ineffective. All programs should be scrapped so we can start over with a system that actually works.
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    Is this even a question? Definitely we should stop funding UNAUTHORIZED departments! Three years is even too much time, I would say. Stop funding them the very instant they become unauthorized! How is this a debate?? What kind of inept institution has a slate of departments and agencies that they have decided should no longer exist, and the debate we're having is whether those departments should continue receiving funds indefinitely or we should wait three more years to cut them off?!?! The very worst kind of inept institution, that's what kind. Cut them off TODAY! If it shouldn't exist anymore why are you forcing the taxpayers to continue to keep it operating AT ALL???
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    There should be mandatory annual congressional reauthorization of every program not specifically outlined in our constitution. And if deadlines are not met, those programs should be cut by default. There is no reason for our government to be so large a presence in our lives.
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    There are many that need to be on that Dump Pile IRS, ATF,EPA the list is way to long to name everyone of them
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    There are no people's representatives anymore, only the corporations representatives. Do your job and reauthorize or end "zombie" programs. Quit making these dead switches so you can be lazy and stop up the government. Give us back you salaries or get back to work. The rest of us would be fired from our jobs by now.
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    Makes logical since to me. If you need funding from the gov, continue to to receive funding by extending a request
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    This "audit" or re-visit should be done as part of the budget process. If Congress would do that part of their job when required - these programs would not be allowed to continue indefinitely. I also think EVERY budget appropriation should include the name of the program in the title. The items could be bundled under several headings - defense - entitlements - agriculture - economy - etc. One last thing ...... All bills should have a sunset clause. Re-evaluating the effectiveness of each periodically would add greatly to governmental efficiency.
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    Yes
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    The wording on this is way too vague. We need to be specific about which programs were shutting down. The generalization of zombie programs seems to give the authority to shut downanything the congress wishes. I would rather we be more specific about which programs are shut down or defunded.
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    Congress has more than enough time, they don't need more time to waste our tax dollars.
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