Statements and Speeches

Hearing Statement: "Show Me the Money: Improving the Transparency of Federal Spending"

Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee

Jul 18 2012

WASHINGTON - Today, Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Federal Financial Management, Government Information, Federal Services, and International Security, joined the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs hearing, "Show Me the Money: Improving the Transparency of Federal Spending."

For more information on the hearing or to watch a webcast of the hearing, please click here.

His statement follows:

As Chairman of the Subcommittee on Federal Financial Management, cracking down on waste and fraud across the federal government is a top priority for me. We have learned over the years that an important component to reducing waste and fraud centers on a more accessible, transparent government.

I am committed to initiatives that allow the federal government to harness the power of information technology to improve transparency, accountability and effectiveness. That's why I joined a bipartisan group of Senators – including then-Senator Obama – in sponsoring the 2006 Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act (FFATA), which created the USASpending.gov website.

However, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) has since found the data on USASpending.gov to be unreliable and incomplete. While efforts are underway to improve the website and the underlying data, we still have a ways to go. The American people deserve to know how every bit of their taxpayer dollars are being spent and I applaud today's hearing as it is an important step in finding solutions to improving the quality of information available to the public.

As we work to improve transparency efforts, we can look to several examples as successful models for transparency. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 contained several provisions designed to improve financial reporting and earlier this year the Administration launched the 'Do Not Pay' tool, an online portal that enables the federal government to access information across multiple data sources to prevent the waste of taxpayer dollars on improper payments, which are payments made in error, such as payments made to the wrong person or in the wrong amount.

Ensuring that the 'Do Not Pay' tool is maintained permanently by the federal government is a major component of legislation that I authored along with Sens. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Scott Brown (R-Mass.), the Improper Payments Elimination and Recovery Improvement Act of 2011, which would build upon the earlier improper payments law passed in 2010. The portal brings together multiple government databases into one simple check point and deploys advanced data matching and analytics to identify and stop wasteful errors before they happen.

It's clear this Administration is taking this issue seriously and I commend the Administration for its remarkable progress. The American people demand an open, transparent, and fiscally-responsible federal government. I look forward to working with my colleagues in Congress and the Obama Administration to continue efforts to increase transparency.