Senate Should Post Information on Spending

UPDATE: The Coburn amendment was agreed to on a 100-0 vote.

The Senate today will consider a proposal from Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) to post information on spending approved by the chamber. Amendment # 3358 to the tax extenders bill (H.R. 4213) will require the Secretary of the Senate to post on the Senate website information on:

  • the total amount of discretionary and direct spending passed by the Senate that has not been paid for, including emergency designated spending or spending otherwise exempted from PAYGO requirements;
  • the total amount of net spending authorized in legislation passed by the Senate, as scored by CBO;
  • the number of new government programs created in legislation passed by the Senate.

The list would be updated weekly. The Senate will also consider a substitute proposal from Senator Max Baucus (D-MT) that will only require a web page with links to CBO data on the budgetary effects of legislation being considered by the Senate. The Secretary of the Senate would only be required to update that page every three months under the Baucus proposal. The Baucus amendment would not provide new or timely information. The Coburn amendment would add more transparency to deficit spending and, perhaps, would hold Senators more accountable for adding to the debt.

Maybe more transparency will prevent the Senate from continuing to bypass PAYGO and approve of more spending that is not offset.