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house Bill H.R. 2505

Should Unauthorized Federal ‘Zombie’ Programs be Phased Out in 3 Years?

Argument in favor

Federal programs that haven't been reauthorized by Congress shouldn’t continue to spend taxpayer dollars. Winding down those “zombie” programs over a three-year period and cutting their funding gives Congress time to consider reauthorizations while saving taxpayer money.

Judy's Opinion
···
11/22/2020
If the funding is "unauthorized", it should immediately stop receiving money as of the expiration date. That way, it could be reviewed and reauthorized as needed. I was just thinking of how social security recipients stop receiving funds after they pass away. As a pun, they should not continue to receive funds after their expiration date even if they do become zombies. Same thing as this!
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Kodiwodi's Opinion
···
11/23/2020
Perhaps phasing out funding from these Zombie programs would not only make the programs more efficient but would spur on Congress to move a bit faster. No one wants to be blamed for costing great programs their funding so move!
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Dorothy's Opinion
···
11/22/2020
Leslie, oh sure just when i was going to take my yr abroad for clown college. Transferring my clown talents to speed course law school so i can nail a federal judge spot before the end of the yr. piece of cake. Judge Clarabelle
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Argument opposed

Congress fails to do its job on-time with stunning regularity, and that shouldn’t prevent programs with a lapsed authorization from continuing to receive funding and operate as they normally would. Lawmakers can already cut off or eliminate programs they feel should be stopped.

jimK's Opinion
···
11/22/2020
Not now. Now, the focus should be on getting the zombies and dinosaurs out of our legislature. The old guard really does not reflect nor show a lot of interest in understanding our country’s changing demographics or the needs of our youth. Millennials are understandably concerned about their future, our country and the problems that they will inherent. They all need better representation and will be looking for a more progressive governance that looks forward to the resolve issues that we have and those that we know are ahead. The conservative penchant for holding on to ‘what is’ and hiding from the future will not satisfy their needs nor our country’s, particularly with the accelerating rates of inevitable world changes that will have to be accounted for. … … … Besides real Zombies won’t have anything to do with Congress - they hunger for human brains and would find very little to feed on there.
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larubia's Opinion
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11/22/2020
This would make sense if only we had a Congress that worked. We don’t and I don’t foresee this changing anytime in the near future.
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burrkitty's Opinion
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11/22/2020
How about Congress passes the dang budget on time? Pass a actual budget on time for three years first. Don’t blame the programs for Congresses dereliction of duty.
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What is House Bill H.R. 2505?

This bill — the Unauthorized Spending Accountability (USA) Act of 2019 — would wind down expired and unauthorized federal programs that still receive funding over the course of three years. Funding for the “zombie” programs or agencies (as this bill calls them) would be reduced during each of the three years before the phase out is completed. If the zombie program or agency is reauthorized at any point during the three years after this bill’s enactment, funding reductions and sunset clauses would be lifted and the program could operate at full funding.

The three-year timeline to the end of all zombie programs would be triggered as soon as this legislation is enacted. All reauthorizations would have to include a sunset clause. During the first year, zombie programs would face a 10% funding reduction (aka sequester) and receive only 90% of the funding they were allocated in the program’s original expiration year. In the second and third years the sequester would rise to 15% before the program’s final expiration at the end of the third year.

A Spending Accountability Commission (SAC) would be created and charged with: 

  • Making a full authorization schedule of all discretionary programs and agencies;
  • Reviewing mandatory spending programs; and
  • Determining mandatory spending cuts. 

SAC could propose a new sequester (or funding cut) schedule to Congress for consideration. In order to override a sequester, the SAC would have to report mandatory cuts in an equal amount that Congress could then consider enacting. The SAC’s reauthorization schedule must limit reauthorizations to three years, include the include the budgetary level reductions established by this bill, and establish a mechanism for replacing the budgetary level reductions with reductions to mandatory spending programs.

The House of Representatives would be required to consider the SAC’s proposal using expedited legislative procedures. 

Impact

Anyone concerned with unauthorized government spending; federal programs funded by unauthorized spending; the to-be-formed SAC; and Congress.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 2505

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.

More Information

In-DepthSponsoring Rep. Cathy McMorris-Rodgers (R-WA) reintroduced this bill from the 115th Congress to prevent taxpayer dollars from going to "zombie" federal programs that continue to operate after their spending authorization has expired:

“We have a fiscal crisis in America today — too much of the federal government is on autopilot. The USA Act is simple, it ensures that every penny of taxpayer money is subject to the scrutiny of the American people. It means that the people’s representatives are doing their jobs to effectively review, rethink, and possibly eliminate programs that are no longer needed. It means restoring the power of the purse and ending unauthorized spending.”

When she introduced this bill last Congress, Rep. McMorris-Rodgers said:

“Too much of government is currently on autopilot, and it’s time to challenge the status quo. A big part of the problem is due to what people in Washington, D.C. call ‘unauthorized spending’ — spending on government programs that have not been authorized by the people’s representatives. This means that the American people are prevented from exercising their power of the purse.”

Americans for Tax Reform supports this bill: 

“With the national debt at over $22 trillion and counting, Congress must work on streamlining and reducing government spending as much as possible. While Democrats control the House of Representatives, relying on Congress to reduce spending in and of itself is a difficult proposition, which is why an automatic sunset and sequestration period for unauthorized programs is necessary. H.R. 2505 is an important piece of taxpayer-friendly legislation that sets Congress back on a path of fiscal accountability. Congress should swiftly pass it, and President Trump should sign it into law.”

This legislation has 31 bipartisan cosponsors, including 28 Republicans and three Democrats, in the 116th Congress. Last Congress, it had 39 Republican cosponsors and didn’t receive a committee vote



Of NoteAccording to a report by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), $310 billion was appropriated to be spent on programs with expired authorizations for fiscal year 2016. This was after $294 billion was spent on such programs the prior year.


Media:

Summary by Eric Revell and Lorelei Yang

(Photo Credit: Flickr user Kurtis Garbutt)

AKA

Unauthorized Spending Accountability Act of 2019

Official Title

To provide for a reauthorizing schedule for unauthorized Federal programs, and for other purposes.

bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
      senate Committees
      Federal Spending Oversight and Emergency Management
  • The house has not voted
      house Committees
      Committee on Oversight and Reform
    IntroducedMay 2nd, 2019
    If the funding is "unauthorized", it should immediately stop receiving money as of the expiration date. That way, it could be reviewed and reauthorized as needed. I was just thinking of how social security recipients stop receiving funds after they pass away. As a pun, they should not continue to receive funds after their expiration date even if they do become zombies. Same thing as this!
    Like (64)
    Follow
    Share
    Not now. Now, the focus should be on getting the zombies and dinosaurs out of our legislature. The old guard really does not reflect nor show a lot of interest in understanding our country’s changing demographics or the needs of our youth. Millennials are understandably concerned about their future, our country and the problems that they will inherent. They all need better representation and will be looking for a more progressive governance that looks forward to the resolve issues that we have and those that we know are ahead. The conservative penchant for holding on to ‘what is’ and hiding from the future will not satisfy their needs nor our country’s, particularly with the accelerating rates of inevitable world changes that will have to be accounted for. … … … Besides real Zombies won’t have anything to do with Congress - they hunger for human brains and would find very little to feed on there.
    Like (127)
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    This would make sense if only we had a Congress that worked. We don’t and I don’t foresee this changing anytime in the near future.
    Like (60)
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    How about Congress passes the dang budget on time? Pass a actual budget on time for three years first. Don’t blame the programs for Congresses dereliction of duty.
    Like (54)
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    @bebe, @pweckham: Agree with you that this needs to be reviewed program-by-program. I would go even further and request an impact analysis for each program since these congressional processes of authorization & funding have been out-of-synch for a long time and previous legislative attempts have failed. It is a bipartisan bill that would be appropriate for what will likely be a bipartisan administration of moderates when the presidency is controlled by one party and the Senate by another party. This is a resurrection of H.R. 2174 from 2017, as well as S. 1573 authored by Rand Paul (R-KY) for which there is some analysis indicating that some important programs might be cut along with getting rid of other programs that probably should go. This Bill effects 257 laws & 971 expired programs costing $307B in 2019 which is 23% of the discretionary budget. Programs that could be cut that probably shouldn’t are: 1) Veterans 2) Violence Against Women 3) NASA 4) 9/11 Commission Programs that probably can be cut 1) clown college in Argentina 2) Brazilian Welfare Programs 3) Jumpstarting the Haitian film industry Congress needs to roll up their sleeves and go through each of these programs and get rid of those not need to support the mission of running the US versus those are but they could start immediately by syncing the 2 processes of authorization & funding for all new legislation going forward while sorting through these older programs. @Dorothy: LOL! Sorry to ruin your Vaca at that Argentinian Clown School! https://www.govexec.com/oversight/2019/10/senate-panel-tackles-unauthorized-appropriations-or-zombie-payments/160999/
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    Perhaps phasing out funding from these Zombie programs would not only make the programs more efficient but would spur on Congress to move a bit faster. No one wants to be blamed for costing great programs their funding so move!
    Like (21)
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    I like the idea of this, but until Congress can actually pass a complete budget on time on a regular basis, this seems like a poor move. Valuable programs such as SNAP have to fight for funding or face cuts way too often. Can you imagine if a Congress failed to reauthorize SNAP, Children's Health Insurance, or the Violence Against Women's Act because they couldn't get it together, and these programs ceased to exist? Is this what Republicans want with this bill?
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    Members of Congress keep choosing the same dysfunctional leaders. We should not expect different results.
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    I’m opposing this mostly because a Republican proposed it. I’ve seen far too many Orwellian Titled Bill Proposed by the Party that Bolsters Trump. Bills that sound good but aren’t good at all. I’ve seen far too many worthy programs already slashed. The whole point of running programs on “auto-pilot” is that they keep running. No additional effort is needed. Duh! What is the Republicans' idea of a program that has outlived its usefulness? Feh! Let me comment on Zombies. Look at Republican Representatives circa 2017 to 2020. Fearful of Tweets by the Orange Painted Voodoo Master, they live in a Constant Zombie Trance. They are compelled to obey his demonic demands. As for aid to foreign countries, wasn't the idea to create "good will" and friendship? Not so much the bizarro one way street that Trump wants but fails to materialize? OK, so bring Clown School back to the USA if you don’t want it in South America. We desperately need real clowns, not the Ass Clowns like Trump, Graham, McConnell, Jim Jordan, and that POS Kayleigh McEnany. [Edited.]
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    NOW Republicans become concerned about spending?? Of course - there will be a Democrat in the Shite House, even though most are too cowed to admit it. Do your jobs. If a program has outlived its usefulness, end it.
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    First phase out zombies in our soon to be perhaps already banana republic without bananas! Dork, mcconnell cruz graham meadows nunes paul ratcliff pompeo barr etc etc Everything will fall in place once they are behind bars
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    This would be auto pilot killing programs instead of auto pilot to funding programs. They can delete, cancel or continue any funding at any time If they did their job like they’re supposed too and like they were elected to do. I can see auto pilot for funding, but not auto piloted kill programs! Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R - WA) being lazy and not doing your job only causes more problems! If you don’t have time to do oversight and review spending on programs, you won’t have time to save needed programs. So far the do nothing senate Republicans does fund what is needed and fund tax cut to the wealthy and corporations. It is totally understandable Heritage foundation and freedomworks (both back Republicans propaganda / rhetoric trickle down economics) would like this, they care less about America people or any safety nets like helping the small businesses, unemployed and states.
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    Leslie, oh sure just when i was going to take my yr abroad for clown college. Transferring my clown talents to speed course law school so i can nail a federal judge spot before the end of the yr. piece of cake. Judge Clarabelle
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    A “bipartisan” bill with only 3 Democrats on board! The danger is that the trumplicans will end up throwing the baby out with the bath water. Valuable programs will just disappear.
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    My sentiments, exactly, NoHedges! 👍🏻👏🏻😊❤️
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    As with any other current bill, the only one that is relevant is a COVID-19 relief bill. All others should wait until Biden and Harris are in office and the two Georgia Senate seats have flipped BLUE! Now there is some optimism for ya during this endless shit show that is 2020!
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    Although this looks like a good idea on the surface, it is introduced by a greedy Republican So I don't trust that they will fund the programs that are actually needed
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    How can so few see the problems with timing, introduction, and wording of this bill? Think before you respond.
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    Peculiar timing for this bill. Three years—a new administration decides not to fund a program, and before the reelection, the program is gone. Sounds like the GSA not sponsoring the transition to a new administration. Looks like the sponsor is working for the Russian state to destroy the American government. How about requiring the Congress and President to evaluate the program after four years and eliminate the program with a super majority? After all, the program was initiated for a reason.
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    There should be a freeze on any bullshit from the damn zombies! They weren't able to fix...improve...help We the People in these last four years. No...instead they have caused too much damage to our country...relations with our allies...wait for it...a quarter of one million and still climbing... unnecessary deaths of We the People of the United States of America by not doing their jobs at all!!! By shrugging off this pandemic as a hoax!!! Holding back on PPE's and making states bid on necessary vital equipment to protect front line workers! Their bottom line was let all the Democrats die as we line our pockets. I mean what the f*** was their reasoning for doing that? It's common sense to see what they were doing...like it or not! It's not far fetched at all! Too much dirty under handed evil has happened here! The voters stood up and finally saw the light. Yet there are still dumb idiots following a useless piece of shit like he's a god!?! I really don't get it!?! Do these people live under rocks!?! Do they not read? Do they not listen? Do they not see? Hell no! Do they not believe what has been happening before their eyes? Hell no! Nothing should be passed unless it is to protect and help 'We the People'! No more waist of time on piddly so-called bill's that don't help 'We the People' to survive this pandemic which could have been curtailed in the first place! I totally blame them for this humungous raging dumpster fire!!!
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