Senator Lankford Helps Launch Federal Government Transparency Program

Last month, the Office of Management and Budget launched an online tool to make it easier for taxpayers to see not only where their hard-earned dollars are going but how they can potentially access them.

Monday, March 4th 2024, 5:32 pm



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Oklahoma Senator James Lankford’s years-long effort to make government spending more transparent is bearing fruit. Last month, the Office of Management and Budget launched an online tool to make it easier for taxpayers to see not only where their hard-earned dollars are going but how they can potentially access them.

The OMB’s new webpage, the Federal Program Inventory (FPI), was the key component of Senator Lankford's Taxpayers Right-to-Know Act, which he first introduced in 2011 and which finally became law in 2021. In essence, the FPI is a master list of all the federal programs that provide loans, grants, payments or other assistance. Lankford says it will be an extremely valuable tool for Congress.

"It gives us the opportunity for oversight we’ve never had," said Lankford (R-OK) in an interview last week.

He says that's never been more important. With the national debt now over $34 trillion, he and his colleagues need to be able to see the full picture.

"If I wanted to be able to find out how many workforce programs are out there, how many STEM programs are there, how many environmental programs are out there, literally they'd have to do a six-month study to be able to come back and tell me that," Lankford stated. "That should be six seconds to be able to look it up online."

And now it is.

At www.fpi.omb.gov, you can search nearly 2,400 programs, by category, agency, type of assistance, or any combination of the three. The query will yield the number of programs that fit the criteria with links to more detailed information about each one.

Lankford says, not only does the website make government more transparent, it makes it more accessible.

"We’ve got a lot of nonprofits in the state that they would benefit by trying to be able to connect to some of these programs that are actually effective things that the federal government should be doing, but were unaware of it," Lankford commented.

But, more than anything else, the goal, Lankford says, is to reduce government waste by making it easier to see where there is overlap and inefficiency.

"Step one of dealing with duplication is being able to see it," said Lankford, "you can’t hit what you can’t see."

Lankford says now that the inventory is online, the next step is evaluating each program, another component of his law. He says each agency is responsible for evaluating its programs, using metrics specified in the law, and those evaluations will also be posted online.

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