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Omnibus Spending Bill Passed by Congress Includes Key Pro-Democracy Reforms

Protect Democracy applauds this positive development which reasserts Congress’s power of the purse, and strengthens government accountability and transparency by supporting inspectors general in the Intelligence Community

Today, the Senate joined the House of Representatives in passing—on a bipartisan basis—H.R.2471, an omnibus spending bill that includes several new provisions that ensure Congress has the information to oversee the executive branch. These provisions were previously part of the Protecting Our Democracy Act (PODA), among other legislation.

In support of the provisions passed by Congress, Soren Dayton, policy advocate at Protect Democracy, released the following statement:

“The provisions in the omnibus bill show that Congress is willing and able to strengthen our democratic institutions on a bipartisan basis. They take an important first step towards giving everyday Americans and their representatives the information and tools needed to help prevent abuses of executive power and government corruption. Power of the purse and Intelligence Community inspector general reforms are an important downpayment on reinforcing our institutions, but there is much more work to do. We look forward to working with both parties and the Biden administration to ensure that that work is done this year.”  

The power of the purse provisions will increase transparency and accountability for how the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) apportions funding for agencies, and ensure any delays in funding do not lead to an impoundment or an illegal delay that prevents funding from being spent. These were part of Title V of the Protecting Our Democracy Act. They also were supported on a bipartisan basis as part of the Bipartisan Congressional Budget Reform Act in the 116th Congress. Protect Democracy joined the Power of the Purse coalition in advocating for the inclusion of these provisions in the Fiscal Year 2022 appropriations bills. 

The inspector general provisions strengthen inspectors general within the Intelligence Community by clarifying that they have the sole authority to determine which whistleblower reports present an urgent concern and should be reported to Congress. These were part of Title VII of the Protecting Our Democracy Act

For more resources on these and other institutional reforms to improve government accountability and transparency, click here.