A Senate bill intended to eliminate duplicative reports would, itself, actually be duplicative, a review by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has concluded.
Introduced and read in the Senate on June 21 by Senators Jon Ossoff (D-Ga.) and James Lankford (R-Okla.), the “Eliminate Useless Reports Act of 2023” S. 2073 would “amend title 31, United States Code, to require agencies to include a list of outdated or duplicative reporting requirements in annual budget justifications, and for other purposes.”
Ironically, in a cost analysis of the bill published Tuesday, the CBO reports that the work that would be required by the bill is already being done by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB):
“S. 2073 would require federal agencies to list within their annual budget justification any recurring reports, including governmentwide and interagency reports, they identify as outdated or duplicative and to recommend whether to sunset, modify, consolidate, or reduce the frequency of those reports.
“Under current law, the Office of Management and Budget coordinates an annual review of reports that may be outdated or duplicative.”
In fact, 53 duplicative or outdated reports have already been identified by OMB within the president’s 2024 budget request, the CBO reports.
Thus, if the “Eliminate Useless Reports Act” becomes law, it would have no effect on spending or the deficit, the CBO cost estimate concludes:
“Because activities required under the bill would be similar to those already occurring under current law, CBO expects that implementing the bill would not significantly affect federal spending over the 2023-2028 period.”
S. 2071 would require the head of each agency to include in its budget justification materials “a list of each recurring plan or report submitted by the agency that the head of the agency determines to be outdated or duplicative” and to provide “a recommendation on whether to sunset, modify, consolidate, or reduce the frequency of the submission of the recurring plan or report.”
The agency head would also be required to contact, and consult with, the head of any agency found to be producing a duplicative report. However, if all agency heads don’t agree that the reports are redundant, the redundant reports aren’t reported – rendering the “eliminate useless reports” process useless.
All duplicative or outdated plans or reports that are required to be submitted to the Committee on Armed Services of the Senate would be immune from the “Eliminate Useless Reports Act.”
CBO is required by law to produce a cost estimate for every bill that is not an appropriations bill, after it is approved by a full committee of either the House or the Senate. Individual members of Congress may also request a review of their bill.
S. 2073 has been referred to the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.