Report: Bill to curb useless government reports is useless

(The Center Square) – A bipartisan bill to get rid of outdated or duplicative government reports is duplicative, according to a report from the Congressional Budget Office.

U.S. Sen. Jon Ossoff, D-Ga., introduced the Eliminate Useless Reports Act of 2023. It would require federal agencies to list any recurring reports they identify as outdated or duplicative.

The measure would require the list to be included in each agency’s annual budget justification. Agencies would also be required to recommend whether to sunset, modify, consolidate, or reduce the frequency of the reports included in the lists. U.S. Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla., cosponsored the measure.

The Congressional Budget Office, a nonpartisan federal agency that produces hundreds of cost estimates for proposed legislation each year, said the measure might not accomplish much.

“Under current law, the Office of Management and Budget coordinates an annual review of reports that may be outdated or duplicative; 53 such reports were so identified within the President’s 2024 budget request,” according to the CBO report. “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.”

Ossoff’s media team did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the CBO report.

Ossoff’s bill is far from the first time Congress has tried to get rid of unnecessary reports. Ossoff introduced a similar bill in 2022.

The Government Reports Elimination Act of 2014 had the same aim. That measure, which became law, eliminated more than 100 government reports and consolidated about 200 additional reports. Among others, that law got rid of the Department of Homeland Security’s “reporting requirements under the Tariff Act of 1930 relating to the prohibition on importation of products made with dog or cat fur.”

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