Grothman Seeks to Restore Power of the Purse to Congress

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Washington, December 2, 2016 | Bernadette Green ((202) 225-2476) | comments

(Washington, D.C.) -- Congressman Glenn Grothman (R-Glenbeulah) yesterday questioned officials about the use of fines, fees, penalties and settlements to skirt Congress and fund agencies outside the appropriations process in a House Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on Government Operations hearing.

Excerpts of Grothman’s remarks:

“It kind of surprises me the amount of funds that are going around that we probably don’t even know the amount that’s being spent. Can you make suggestions how […]Congress can start to see more clearly how funds are collected and spent, and what requirements we should put on that budget request?”

“Mr. Kosar, […] you mentioned the government collected $16 billion from the public last year, right? To what degree are these outside of the normal collection [dollars] included in that amount?

“In other words when [agencies] have money coming in, even though that money is dedicated to a specific purpose, that’s not necessarily apparent from their budget?

“You know it never ceases to amaze me how screwed up the federal government is. I was a state legislator for 20 years. Washington is so much more screwed up than Madison, Wis. I can’t believe it.

“Are there agencies with funding streams outside the appropriations process? Which agencies in particular do you think could give us more transparent budgets?”

Click here for Grothman’s full remarks.


Even though Congress is granted the power of the purse in the Constitution, federal agencies often engage in “backdoor spending” – or the use of fines, fees, penalties and settlements to fund their operations and unappropriated programs.

This backdoor spending is an attempt to cut out Congress and allows agencies to act unilaterally with limited oversight.


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