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Rep. Ralph Norman Introduces the Cost Openness and Spending Transparency (COST) Act

On Thursday, Rep. Ralph Norman (SC-5) introduced the Cost Openness and Spending Transparency (COST) Act. This legislation will require public disclosure of the total cost to taxpayers for every project supported with federal funds.
The COST Act is co-sponsored by Rep. Nancy Mace (SC-1)Rep. William Timmons (SC-4), and Rep. Paul Gosar (AZ-9). This is a companion bill to S.778 introduced in the Senate by Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA).

The federal government utilizes hundreds of companies, non-profit organizations, academic institutions, and other entities to implement a wide variety of programs, projects, and other activities. Under current law, entities that receive funding from some federal agencies are required to publicly disclose information about how those dollars are used, and what percentage of a project's total costs were paid for by taxpayers.
Unfortunately, this law is largely disregarded by many recipients of taxpayer funds, as well as the federal agencies that distribute those funds. Furthermore, the current law only applies to the Departments of Labor, Defense, Health & Human Services, Education, and related agencies. Ultimately, there is very little transparency into where and how taxpayer dollars are being used.
The COST Act would improve this by:
  • Expanding disclosure requirements to funds distributed by all federal agencies, not just the four listed above.
  • Strengthening the reporting mandate to require that both federal agencies and the entities receiving taxpayer dollars must publicly disclose the percentage and dollar amount being financed with Federal funds.
This bill is supported by the White Coast Waste ProjectFreedomWorks, and National Taxpayers Union.
"Taxpayers have every right to know how their tax dollars are being allocated and for what purpose," said Rep. Norman in a statement on Thursday. "I am proud to sponsor the COST Act, I believe every member of Congress should agree there is a need for more transparency by the government where taxpayer funds are concerned.” 
Tristan Daedalus, Director of Government Affairs at the White Coat Waste Project, added, “Congressman Norman has shown outstanding leadership in reintroducing the COST Act this year. Transparency is key to accountable government. By ensuring federal agencies and their grantees publicly disclose how they spend billions each year, Rep. Norman is empowering citizens to closely monitor how their tax dollars are being spent,” said “In our fight against cruel and unnecessary government-funded animal testing, we see taxpayer dollars wasted on countless program that would enrage most people. Our over 3 million members and other taxpayers have a right to know how much money Uncle Sam is wasting on these boondoggles.”