Exclusive: Joni Ernst Unveils MAKE CENTS Act to Break Wasteful Spending ‘Status Quo’
Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA) unveiled her new legislation to make government more transparent and slash wasteful spending exclusively on Tuesday’s edition of SiriusXM’s Breitbart News Daily.
Ernst, a leading advocate for cutting wasteful government spending, unveiled her newest legislation, the Making Americans Know about Excessive Spending through Commonsense Efforts to Notice and Target Shenanigans Act, or MAKE CENTS Act, on Breitbart News Daily. The MAKE CENTS Act is a package of common-sense reforms to Congress’s budgetary process and would create more transparency and accountability throughout the Washington bureaucracy.
The Iowa conservative explained to Breitbart News Daily host Alex Marlow that the MAKE CENTS Act “wraps all of these things together, the Billion Dollar Boondoggle Act, the COST Act, the End of the Year Fiscal Responsibility Act, and some of the favorites out there with some of the constituents: the No Budget, No Recess Act and the No Budget, No Pay Act, which are very common sense. You know, if Congress is not getting its job done, then we should not be paid. I’m a huge believer in reforming the way we do business here in Washington, DC, and if Congress won’t hold themselves accountable we couldn’t expect that our agencies and contractors are going to hold themselves responsible.”
The Ernst legislation contains many reforms that would rein in wasteful government spending and require more transparency over the government’s spending, including:
- The Billion Dollar Boondoggle Act, which would require an annual report listing every government-funded project that is $1 billion or more over budget or five years or more behind schedule.
- The Cost Openness and Spending Transparency (COST) Act, which would require every federally funded project to include a price tag is easily available for taxpayers. Every government project would require the disclosure of the price tag and the percentage of the overall budget for any project, program, or activity would be disclosed in all public documents. The COST Act would also provide the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) the authority to withhold a portion of the grant if a project manager fails to close the cost of the project.
- The End-of-the-Year Fiscal Responsibility Act, which would eliminate the “use-it or lose-it” incentive many government agencies feel at the end of the fiscal year. The bill would limit an agency’s spending in the last two months of the fiscal year to no more than the average it spent per month during the previous ten months.
- No Budget, No Recess, which would not allow Congress to adjourn for a recess until they have approved a budget by April 15 or passed all 12 of its appropriations bills by August 1. If Congress fails to meet those deadlines, then Congress could not adjourn for longer than eight hours, they could not obtain funds for travel, and two quorum calls would be held per day to ensure that lawmakers stay in Congress to pass a budget.
- No Budget, No Pay, which would stipulate that lawmakers could not receive a salary if they fail to pass a budget resolution or fail to fund the government by October 1.
Marlow cheered the MAKE CENTS Act, calling it “swamp busting stuff.”
Ernst said that there are some lawmakers that “think the status quo” on wasteful spending “is fine and we got to break these habits.”
The Iowa senator has served as a thought leader on reining in wasteful government spending. President Trump’s budget, which was released Monday, contains provisions first crafted by Ernst, such as the End-of-the-Year Fiscal Responsibility Act’s call to end federal agencies’ “use-it or lose-it” spending mentality.
Ernst said, “I’ve really focused on curbing wasteful spending in the federal government, and so I was really excited that President Trump specifically calls out some of the end-of-the-year ‘use-it or lose-it’ spending.”
“There’s really no way to sugar coat it: Washington’s budget process is broken,” Ernst said in a statement Tuesday. “The president submits his budget, the House tears it up (no pun intended), and fails to pass its own budget. Then Congress kicks the can down the road on funding the government before cramming through a budget-busting bill at the 11th hour. This dysfunctional process and lack of transparency allows wasteful spending to continue year after year.”