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Press Release

Power of the Purse Coalition Opposes OMB Effort to Involve Political Appointees in Apportionment

It’s inappropriate for political appointees to oversee the disbursement of congressionally appropriated funds, especially without public scrutiny.
(Illustration: CJ Ostrosky / POGO)

WASHINGTON—The Power of the Purse Coalition opposes the recent change by the Office of Management and Budget requiring political appointees to sign off on every move to spend or stop funds appropriated by Congress.

This change, giving even more power to the executive branch when it comes to spending congressionally appropriated funds, is highly inappropriate. Career officials have historically held this power to manage the disbursement of funds appropriated by Congress, known as apportionment, so this move by OMB could unnecessarily politicize this process. Irrespective of whether political appointees or career officials are tasked with the job, the persistent lack of congressional and public access to these decisions and their impacts poses a critical threat to the constitutional order and to the appropriate management of taxpayer dollars.

Paired with the administration’s recent attempts to resist increased transparency for the apportionment process, this new OMB policy further erodes Congress’ authority to determine how and for what purposes the federal government spends public funds.

Congress has ceded its power over the federal budget for decades, and it’s time for Congress to take that power back. The administration should reverse this decision, and Congress must enact legislation that makes clear who has the authority to make apportionment decisions and requires transparency into the process.

Media Contacts:Dylan Hedtler-Gaudette, Policy Analyst at the Project On Government Oversight (POGO), [email protected]; or Caitlin MacNeal, Media Relations Manager at POGO, [email protected]

The Power of the Purse Coalition was formed to urge Congress to claw back its power over the federal budget and is made up of several advocacy groups: Demand Progress, FreedomWorks, National Taxpayers Union, the Project On Government Oversight, Protect Democracy, and the R Street Institute.

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Founded in 1981, the Project On Government Oversight (POGO) is a nonpartisan independent watchdog that investigates and exposes waste, corruption, abuse of power, and when the government fails to serve the public or silences those who report wrongdoing.

We champion reforms to achieve a more effective, ethical, and accountable federal government that safeguards constitutional principles.