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house Bill H.R. 5406

Should the Presidential Budget Include the Total Amount Requested by Each Intel Agency?

Argument in favor

This bipartisan bill increases intelligence agencies’ accountability to U.S. taxpayers, who deserve to know at a high-level know where these tax dollars go. This would satisfy the transparency recommendations of the 9/11 Commission Report.

Mark's Opinion
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05/10/2018
I always support transparency in government. Particularly with how dark the waters of the swamp have gotten lately. That being said, our intelligence community, the DOJ and law enforcement agencies along with the judicial branch are under attack from Donald Trump and his GOP enablers. In such a climate we should be very wary of any bill that could potentially allow Donald Trump to undermine the budgets of government agencies who are integral in the investigation of his possible misdeeds and the delivery of justice. I am reassured somewhat that this bill will only show total budget requests and not line items. That being said our democracy is being deliberately attacked by Vladimir Putin and Russia, and Donald Trump and the GOP continue to ignore the warnings or prepare the US to defend its elections. It is at this moment in history that we need more than ever, the brave men and women of our intelligence community, the FBI, law enforcement agencies and the Judicial branch to protect our constitution, electoral process and the norms of our society. We need more men and women in government with the integrity of Robert Mueller, James Comey, Barack Obama, Sally Yates, and Preet Bharara. We need men and women who are guided by the law and facts, not by lies, sound bites, partisan politics or Russian money.
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burrkitty's Opinion
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05/10/2018
There’s no security risk if the line items aren’t included. This is good for transparency. I don’t see a downside.
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Leo's Opinion
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05/10/2018
The people should know where their money is going.
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Argument opposed

Intelligence agencies’ activities are often covert and even revealing their top-line budgets without disclosing line-item details could signal America’s priorities to its foreign adversaries, hindering or compromising national security.

OlderNWiser's Opinion
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05/11/2018
Since we have a serious attempt at establishing a dictatorship and destroying the checks and balances instituted by our forefathers to protect our Republic, I am concerned that this is another ploy of a deeply impaired man and his sycophants to control our country probably instituted by Putin. The assaults to our freedoms are daily, insidious, and terrifying. While transparency is a good goal, anything crossing the desk of #45 and equally corrupt minions can represent another freedom lost.
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Terry's Opinion
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05/10/2018
You would open a path to scrutiny by Congress that would gut the intelligence community.
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KyleCorley's Opinion
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05/11/2018
Even though I am all for transperency there are some agencies that need their budget information secret. We don't want other countries know how much certain agencies are requesting for that knowledge can lead to negative consequences for the U.S.
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What is House Bill H.R. 5406?

This bill would require the president’s annual budget submission to Congress include the dollar amount requested for intelligence or intelligence-related activities by each intelligence agency. This would allow the public to see the total amount provided to each agency, but not line-item expenses. Under current law, members of Congress can only see the total amount of the budget request unless they’re members of the intelligence committee or have otherwise been briefed.on the matter.

It would require disclosure of budget requests from the following agencies: Air Force Intelligence, Army Intelligence, Central Intelligence Agency, Coast Guard Intelligence, Defense Intelligence Agency, Department of Energy, Department of Homeland Security, Department of State, Department of Treasury, Drug Enforcement Administration, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Marine Corps Intelligence, National Geospatial Intelligence Agency, National Reconnaissance Office, National Security Agency, and Navy Intelligence.

Impact

The general public; members of Congress; intelligence agencies; and the White House.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 5406

There is no CBO estimate for this bill, as it does not incur a cost.

More Information

In-Depth: Congressman Peter Welch (D-VT) introduced this bill to increase transparency into intelligence agencies’ budgets and offered the following statement about his bill:

“Ensuring America’s national security requires professional and competent intelligence agencies. But the urgency  of the mission assigned to the 16 intelligence agencies should not shield them from budget accountability and transparency. In fact, the urgency of their mission makes the need for transparency even greater in order to assure Congress and the American people of the quality and effectiveness of their work.”

This legislation has the support of  four bipartisan cosponsors, including three Republicans and one Democrat. An identical version of this bill was introduced last Congress, which didn’t receive a vote.. This Congress, Sens. Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Rand Paul (R-KY) have introduced companion legislation in the Senate (S. 2631).


Of Note: Currently, intelligence agency budgets are funded with a so-called “black budget” supplement that is debated and voted upon behind closed doors by congressional appropriators. Until recently, not even aggregate intelligence spending requests were disclosed.


Media:

Summary by Lorelei Yang

(Photo Credit: elnavegante / iStock)

AKA

Intelligence Budget Transparency Act of 2018

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
    IntroducedMarch 22nd, 2018
    I always support transparency in government. Particularly with how dark the waters of the swamp have gotten lately. That being said, our intelligence community, the DOJ and law enforcement agencies along with the judicial branch are under attack from Donald Trump and his GOP enablers. In such a climate we should be very wary of any bill that could potentially allow Donald Trump to undermine the budgets of government agencies who are integral in the investigation of his possible misdeeds and the delivery of justice. I am reassured somewhat that this bill will only show total budget requests and not line items. That being said our democracy is being deliberately attacked by Vladimir Putin and Russia, and Donald Trump and the GOP continue to ignore the warnings or prepare the US to defend its elections. It is at this moment in history that we need more than ever, the brave men and women of our intelligence community, the FBI, law enforcement agencies and the Judicial branch to protect our constitution, electoral process and the norms of our society. We need more men and women in government with the integrity of Robert Mueller, James Comey, Barack Obama, Sally Yates, and Preet Bharara. We need men and women who are guided by the law and facts, not by lies, sound bites, partisan politics or Russian money.
    Like (66)
    Follow
    Share
    Since we have a serious attempt at establishing a dictatorship and destroying the checks and balances instituted by our forefathers to protect our Republic, I am concerned that this is another ploy of a deeply impaired man and his sycophants to control our country probably instituted by Putin. The assaults to our freedoms are daily, insidious, and terrifying. While transparency is a good goal, anything crossing the desk of #45 and equally corrupt minions can represent another freedom lost.
    Like (28)
    Follow
    Share
    There’s no security risk if the line items aren’t included. This is good for transparency. I don’t see a downside.
    Like (30)
    Follow
    Share
    The people should know where their money is going.
    Like (19)
    Follow
    Share
    You would open a path to scrutiny by Congress that would gut the intelligence community.
    Like (17)
    Follow
    Share
    Even though I am all for transperency there are some agencies that need their budget information secret. We don't want other countries know how much certain agencies are requesting for that knowledge can lead to negative consequences for the U.S.
    Like (9)
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    I like the transparency. Whether it is a Republican or a Democrat in office, transparency is the best policy for a job that holds so much power.
    Like (7)
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    Taxpayers have the right to know how the government spends every single penny.
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    And the IT costs should be published. I’m sure we would have a national conversation about warrant less data collection then.
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    My tax money. I deserve to know how it’s spent.
    Like (4)
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    45 has blurred the lines between the executive and the DOJ, expecting loyalty from the attorney general & heads of the FBI & CIA. There needs to be a firewall between the executive & these departments. This bill, though well intended, would have the opposite effect.
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    No, Trump has muddied the long standing repution of our fine intelligence agencies. I wouldn't want to change anything during this odd time in Washington. Trust no one, don't make changes, it's a strange time in D.C.
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    We don’t want our adversaries knowing how much we spend on intel and counter intel.
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    The departments in question already account for they budgets both in bulk and by line item to a select group of Congress and department heads. Just knowing that one of these departments has increased/decreased its budget is too much to tell our enemies and we do have many enemies. Don’t leak this information.
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    I’m sorry but if an member of Congress wished to see the budget reports, all they have to do is put an inquiry in to the Intelligence Committee, but apparently that’s not good enough anymore. Our intelligence programs need to be covert and I trust in them because we rarely see any kind of attack on our people from outside sources, which means it’s working.
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    I’m going to have to say nay on this one. I have always been a strong advocate of transparency and accountability. However, given the current political climate and with Putin’s Puppet 45’s ongoing spat with our intelligence agencies this just doesn’t seem like a smart move right now. I’ve developed some rather serious trust issues with this administration and this Congress so there’s a little voice in my head whispering “danger, danger” when I read this proposal. I imagine there probably is a way to craft such a bill that would assure no breach in sensitive details that would put our intelligence community at risk. I just don’t believe we can trust this Congress to be up to the challenge. There’s been too much partisanship, too many blatantly ulterior motives and too much incompetence and sloppiness for that. And we absolutely cannot trust the Arrogant Orange Idiot in the White House to behave honorably to protect the intelligence community if ever he presumes outing them is to his benefit. So in this instance insuring national security must take priority over normally desirable transparency. Please do not support this bill.
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    Intelligence agency operations are typically covert. Revealing their top-line budgets even without disclosing line-item details potentially compromises national security.
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    Exactly what the “Nay” said as well as there are checks and balances in our government for a reason, so one branch doesn’t have the most power. Trust in that.
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    Transparency & Accountability by Intel Agencies are paramount in keeping us duly informed as to how they are using their funding in our behalf. Details, ‘Line Item Info’ are not to be exposed in anyway.
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    As a taxpayer, I expect to be informed of what I am paying for. Anything else is called corruption.
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