Date: July 2, 2021
Senate Passes S. 272, the
“Congressional Budget Justification Transparency Act of 2021”
On June 24, 2021, the Senate passed S. 272, the Congressional Budget Justification Transparency Act of 2021, by unanimous consent with an amendment. In general, the bill would amend the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006, (Public Law 109–282), to require federal agencies (except those with budgets confidential by law such as CIA or other national defense agencies) to post their congressional budget justifications (CJs) on the agency website.1 The bill now moves to the House for consideration.2
S. 272 contains the following provisions of interest to SSA:
SEC. 2. Public Availability of Budget Justifications and Appropriations Requests
- Would amend the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006 (P.L. 109-282) to require the Secretary of the Treasury to:
- Consult with agency heads with respect to posting budget justification materials3 on the established website;
- Post any budget justification materials for the second fiscal year (FY) after enactment, every FY thereafter, and any prior FYs to the extent practicable;
- Post budget justification materials no later than 2 weeks after date of submission of such information to Congress.
- Would exclude budget justification materials, which are confidential, classified4 or exempt from disclosure5.
- Would require OMB to publish on a website, and maintain, a list for each FY of each agency that submits budget justification materials.
- Would require, no later than one year after enactment, the OMB Director (in consultation with the Secretary of the Treasury) to establish policies and issue guidance to agencies to ensure budget justification materials will be produced and made available in a uniform, user-friendly format.
SEC. 3. Determination of Budgetary Effects
- No additional funding would be provided to implement the provisions of this bill.
- Unless otherwise stated, the provisions of this bill would be effective upon enactment.
1 SSA has a website (http://www.ssa.gov/budget) that provides budget justification materials from FY 2008 onward.
2 The House passed, under the suspension of rules, a similar bill, H.R. 22, the Congressional Budget Justification Transparency Act of 2021, by vote of 412-2 in January; however, the House and Senate bills have several key differences. Most notably, the S. 272 added an exception for agency budgets that are confidential by statute (e.g., CIA) that is not in H.R. 22. Accordingly, the House must pass S. 272 before it can move to the President.
3 Annual budget justification materials of an agency submitted in conjunction with the President’s Budget, for which requirements are outlined under 31 U.S.C. §1105(a).
4 National Defense or Foreign Policy (e.g., CIA).
5 Per 5 U.S.C. § 552(b)