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house Bill H.R. 2272

Public Disclosure of Budget Requests of the Sixteen Federal Agencies Comprising the U.S. Intelligence Community

Argument in favor

Both Congress and the pubic deserve to see where taxpayer dollars go. Intelligence spending without oversight is anti-democratic.

Sam's Opinion
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06/25/2016
The people deserve to know where our money is going.
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06/26/2016
I deserve to know what my taxes are paying for, and if the interests are kept confidential from the public, they obviously are not for the better of the public
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AndrewGVN's Opinion
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01/20/2016
We should be able to know how much money the government is investing in these government programs.
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Argument opposed

These programs require secrecy to be effective. Greater transparency would translate to larger security risks for America.

Steven's Opinion
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02/29/2016
I worked in the Intelligence Community during my time in the service. Budgets are not kept secret to defraud the American people, its a security measure pure and simple. A bank doesn't make the typeof vault and alarm system it uses public knowledge for the same reason. Knowing what is there makes it easier to counter.
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Jakob's Opinion
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06/25/2016
These agencies are already under the oversight of Congress. As a republic, we elect our own representatives who in turn act on our behalf in these matters. This allows us to keep the agencies in check without having them disclose their requests and activities to the general public.
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Kathy's Opinion
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06/25/2016
Nothing that should be kept from our enemies should be made public.
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What is House Bill H.R. 2272?

This bill would require the president to disclose to Congress the total dollar amount requested by each of the sixteen agencies that comprise the U.S. intelligence Community (IC).

At present, all members of Congress can see only the total dollar amount of the overall intelligence budget request; that is, they do not see how those funds are divided among the sixteen agencies. While some congresspersons, including members of the House and Senate Intelligence committees, have access to information about intelligence budgets, others may only briefed.  

This bill would allow all members of Congress and the public to see the budget of each agency, but not line-item expenses. For example, were the bill to pass, anyone could know how much money is going to the CIA, but not how the CIA is in turn allocating such funding. 

Impact

The federal agencies receiving funding from the intelligence budget; Americans who care about where intelligence spending is going..

Cost of House Bill H.R. 2272

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.

More Information

In Depth: Sponsoring Rep. Peter Welch (D­VT) explained why passing the bill was critical in a press release:
“The biggest threat to the successful implementation of a vital national program is the combination of unlimited money with non­existent oversight. That's the situation Congress has allowed to develop in the critical work of intelligence gathering.”
Rep. Cynthia Lummis (R­WY) stated in her press release that the bill would provide much needed accountability for intelligence agencies:

“Writing checks without any idea of where the money is going is bad policy. Disclosing the top­line budgets of each of our intelligence agencies promotes basic accountability among the agencies charged with protecting Americans without compromising our national security interests."

Of Note: In August 2013, the Washington Post reported for the first time on the spending levels of individual intelligence agencies. 

The Daily Beast has obtained line items for the FY 15 intelligence budget. They can be found here

The sixteen agencies known to receive funding through the intelligence budget are: 

  1. Air Force Intelligence
  2. Army Intelligence
  3. CIA
  4. Coast Guard Intelligence
  5. Defense Intelligence Agency
  6. Department of Energy (note that funding for the DOE’s nuclear weapons program is handled via the National Defense Authourization Act, a separate spending bill)
  7. Department of Homeland Security
  8. State Department
  9. Department of the Treasury
  10. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)
  11. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
  12. Marine Corps Intelligence
  13. National Geo-spatial Intelligence Agency
  14. National Reconnaissance Office
  15. National Security Agency
  16. Navy Intelligence


Media:

Summary by Chris Conrad

AKA

Intelligence Budget Transparency Act of 2015

Official Title

To amend section 1105 of title 31, United States Code, to require that the annual budget submissions of the Presidents include the total dollar amount requested for intelligence or intelligence related activities of each element of the Government engaged in such activities.

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 the Budget
    IntroducedMay 12th, 2015
    The people deserve to know where our money is going.
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    These agencies are already under the oversight of Congress. As a republic, we elect our own representatives who in turn act on our behalf in these matters. This allows us to keep the agencies in check without having them disclose their requests and activities to the general public.
    Like (9)
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    I worked in the Intelligence Community during my time in the service. Budgets are not kept secret to defraud the American people, its a security measure pure and simple. A bank doesn't make the typeof vault and alarm system it uses public knowledge for the same reason. Knowing what is there makes it easier to counter.
    Like (9)
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    I deserve to know what my taxes are paying for, and if the interests are kept confidential from the public, they obviously are not for the better of the public
    Like (8)
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    Nothing that should be kept from our enemies should be made public.
    Like (6)
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    It doesn't have line item expenses. There's limited security risk if you're just seeing the bottom line.
    Like (4)
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    We should be able to know how much money the government is investing in these government programs.
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    This will hardly affect national security, as it merely breaks the spending down into 16 large chunks. What is Russia or China going to do with the knowledge that the Marines Intelligence agency has 16 billion dollars, for example. This bill both provides transparency while preserving our national security.
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    You are stripping America's security
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    This sounds innocuous enough: This bill would allow all members of Congress and the public to see the budget of each agency, but not line-item expenses. For example, were the bill to pass, anyone could know how much money is going to the CIA, but not how the CIA is in turn allocating such funding. Considering how UNTRANSPARENT the Obama administration is, I expect our "Imperial President" will veto this measure, if it passes. But maybe he'll surprise me.
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    National safety > transparency
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    I don't think we can afford to be anything else but perfectly upfront and honest with the American people at a time like this
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    Yes, we need to know where our tax dollars are going!
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    Without line item expenses I don't believe this bill would compromise security enough to outweigh the benefits of people knowing where their tax money is going.
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    There is not enough information in a budget to compromise security
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    This bill discloses nothing about what the intelligence community does, only what the budget is to each agency. It therefore does not compromise our security. Americans have the right to know which agencies expenditures are allocated towards, especially since several of them (such as the NSA) are heavily criticized for their actions.
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    Nay to the public disclosure part of the bill. I would say Yea to the congressional oversight portion of it, but in no way should figures from secret agencies be made public.
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    I don't agree with spending our tax money without oversight.
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    Say
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    In other words, should the Intel community be allowed to operate without any semblance oversight or accountability? No. Absolutely not. To have it any other way would be antithetical to Democracy.
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