WASHINGTON –This afternoon, U.S. Senator Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) introduced S. 399 - The Budget and Accounting Transparency Act. The bill would promote increased oversight of government spending and bring honest accounting to federal programs. Senator Fischer released the following statement after introducing the bill:

“Our country cannot continue spending money we do not have. My bill would require the government to conduct fair and honest accounting of federal credit programs. It will also ensure that the risks to taxpayers are properly and accurately evaluated in order to prevent shortfalls. As recently as this morning, the need for this legislation became abundantly clear.

“The White House has revealed that there is a $21.8 billion shortfall stemming from their student loan program. This loss places further strains on our obligations and leaves the American taxpayer to cover the costs. My legislation will prevent wasteful mistakes like these from happening and I look forward to working with my colleagues to ensure that it moves quickly through our chamber.”

 Fischer’s bill, S. 399 - The Budget Accountability and Transparency Act would:  

  • Require fair-value accounting for federal credit programs.
  • Require the Congressional Budget Office and the Office of Budget Management to conduct a study on extending the fair-value methodology to federal insurance programs.
  • Require federal agencies to make public any budgetary justification materials prepared in support of their request for use of taxpayer dollars.

This morning, Politico reported that the Obama administration posted a $21.8 billion shortfall for its student loan program - the largest ever recorded for any government program:

In obscure data tables buried deep in its 2016 budget proposal, the Obama administration revealed this week that its student loan program had a $21.8 billion shortfall last year, apparently the largest ever recorded for any government credit program.

The main cause of the shortfall was President Barack Obama’s recent efforts to provide relief for borrowers drowning in student debt, reforms that have already begun to reduce loan payments to the government. For more than two decades, budget analysts have recalculated the projected costs of about 120 credit programs every year, but they have never lowered their expectations of repayments this dramatically. The $21.8 billion revision—larger than the annual budget for NASA, or the Interior Department and EPA combined—will be tacked onto the federal deficit.