House approves resolution to boost financial transparency

By Ken Tysiac

A concurrent resolution aimed at providing transparency about the fiscal state of the US government passed the House with bipartisan support by a voice vote Wednesday.

The Senate has yet to vote on the Fiscal State of the Nation resolution, which is backed by the AICPA. The resolution would require the congressional budget committees to conduct an annual joint hearing to receive a presentation from the comptroller general regarding:

  • The U.S. Government Accountability Office's (GAO's) audit of the financial statement of the executive branch; and
  • The financial position and condition of the federal government.

The intent of the resolution is to make sure that lawmakers have valuable information regarding the financial condition of the federal government when they make key decisions. While the short-term view provided by the annual federal budget is easy for members of Congress to see, the consolidated federal financial statements and the GAO's audit report can provide more comprehensive information.

The AICPA has long supported federal fiscal responsibility through its "What's at Stake" initiative.

"With today's vote, we are one step closer to ensuring Congress receives regular and detailed reports to help them understand the long-term economic impact of current and future policies," AICPA President and CEO Barry Melancon, CPA, CGMA, said in a news release. "Requiring the comptroller general to make an annual presentation before a joint hearing of the House and Senate Budget Committees will help to focus key policyholders on some of the most important aspects of the consolidated financial statements, including financial and sustainability measures."

The resolution also has been introduced in the Senate and has been referred there to the Committee on the Budget. It must pass the Senate before it can regulate the joint affairs of the House and Senate.

Ken Tysiac (Kenneth.Tysiac@aicpa-cima.com) is the JofA's editorial director.

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