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Congressman Pete Sessions

Representing the 32nd District of Texas

Accountability & Transparency

Democracy only works when the citizens that the government represents operates in an open, accountable, and transparent fashion. Further, taxpayers deserve transparency and accountability to see how their hard-earned dollars are being used. But, too often tax dollars are tainted with waste, fraud, and abuse perpetuated by backroom deals in Congress and incompetence in the federal government. The American people deserve better.

That is why I have made transparency and accountability central to my commitment to fiscal responsibility. A major part of my job as Chairman of the House Rules Committee is to ensure that our work here in the House of Representatives is always directly accountable to the American people who granted us the privilege of serving here. In the first week of the 115th Congress, the House passed what is commonly known as the Rules package which includes important reforms to help us achieve a fully transparent process in the House. Building on the work of House Republicans in the 113th and 114th Congresses, this Rules package will better enable us as an institution to perform our constitutional duties and obligations with integrity and transparency, while streamlining the way the House of Representatives operates.

These reforms will work to restore the American people’s trust in government by promoting transparency and openness. To shine the light on government operations and tax dollar use, the House approved reforms such as expanding the current nepotism rule to prohibit Members from employing their grandchildren, requiring budget resolutions to contain information about the historical and projected growth of means-tested and non-means-tested direct spending and bill reports must disclose any known relative, duplicate federal programs.

I also support the following:

In 2012, House Republicans launched a new site to give the public easier access to a wide spectrum of legislative information in an effort to increase transparency and spur citizen participation. This site includes easier access to bills, resolutions, amendments, conference reports and provides updates on floor proceedings and committee hearings.

Although some earmarks and other forms of congressionally-directed funding serve valuable purposes—such as vital infrastructure and research projects—the wasteful and irresponsible use of them over the years has unfortunately polluted the entire process. The abuse and misuse of the federal earmark process has made it very difficult to develop alternative methods for this type of federal funding that are not only appropriate, but also fair and responsible.

I continue to support the House Republican ban on all earmarks. I also look forward to working with my fellow colleagues in the House on comprehensive earmark reform. To view more regarding my thoughts on earmarks, please refer to the Budget and Federal Spending portion of my website by clicking here.

Congressional expenses are now available online to increase transparency and accountability. I welcome the new expense transparency rules in the House of Representatives and will work to ensure that congressional office expenses fully comply with all disclosure requirements.

To view the Statement of Disbursements (SOD), click here. Although the House of Representatives has been required by law to publish the SOD since 1964, having these reports now online allows the public much easier access to this information. The House of Representatives also highly recommends that viewers read the details, glossary and frequently asked questions sections prior to reading the SOD.

More on Accountability & Transparency

January 20, 2010 Press Release
Washington, DC – U.S. Congressman Pete Sessions today condemned House Democrats’ vote to prevent public access to health care negotiations. Using one of the few procedural rights guaranteed to the Minority on the House floor, House Republicans forced a vote to consider legislation to ensure that any meeting regarding national healthcare be conducted in public. The Democrat Majority defeated this common-sense measure by a vote of 239 – 175.
January 7, 2010 Press Release
U.S. Congressman Pete Sessions today joined his House Republican Rules Committee colleagues in sending a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), urging her to honor C-SPAN’s request to cover all health care negotiations.
We are concerned that in the rush to pass an unprecedented and unpopular experiment with our nation’s health care, Congress’ execution . . . has fallen well short of the mark set by you and President Obama,” Sessions and his colleagues wrote in a letter to Speaker Pelosi.