AICPA backs legislation to present report on nation’s economic health

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The American Institute of CPAs is supporting a new bill requiring the Comptroller General to present a Financial Report of the United States to all members of Congress explaining the state of the nation’s fiscal and economic health.

The move comes in response to the growing federal budget deficit, which is projected by the Congressional Budget Office to grow to $1 trillion this year, thanks in part to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

Senator Kyrsten Sinema, a Democrat from Arizona, introduced the bipartisan Fiscal State of the Nation Resolution, which would require a nonpartisan official to present a clear, unbiased assessment of America’s economic health. The Comptroller General runs the Government Accountability Office, which regularly produces reports for Congress. Sinema said the report would educate members of Congress about the country’s debt and deficit so they would be better able to make informed economic decisions. Republican Senator Joni Ernst (Iowa), Independent Senator Angus King (Maine), and Democratic Senator Jacky Rosen (Nevada) cosponsored Sinema’s resolution in the Senate. Representatives Kathleen Rice (D-New York) and Andy Barr (R-Kentucky) introduced the Fiscal State of the Nation Resolution in the House.

“Measuring America’s economic standing is a commonsense step to address our nation’s debt, grow our economy, and protect retirement benefits Arizonans have earned,” said Sinema in a statement Tuesday.

The AICPA is among the groups backing the legislation. “The AICPA strongly supports the Fiscal State of the Nation Resolution and thanks Senator Sinema, Senator Ernst, Senator King, and Senator Rosen for their commitment to fostering transparency in the federal government’s financial report,” said AICPA president and CEO Barry Melancon in a statement. “We believe requiring the Comptroller General to make an annual presentation before a joint hearing of the Senate and House Budget Committees will help policymakers’ decision-making on the valuable information this report provides about the financial condition of the federal government.”

Along with the AICPA, the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, the National Taxpayers Union, Americans for Tax Reform and the Concord Coalition all support the Fiscal State of the Nation Resolution.

Sinema’s Fiscal State of the Nation Resolution requires the Comptroller General to present the Financial Report of the United States to a joint hearing of the House and Senate Budget Committees. All members of Congress would be invited to attend. By inviting a nonpartisan government official to present to both the House and Senate, Congress would receive a clear assessment of the nation’s financial health to enhance lawmakers’ understanding of the federal budget and deficit, and help them make more informed decisions about the U.S. economy. The joint hearing would take place 45 business days of issuance of the audited Financial Report to ensure lawmakers receive the information in an accurate, timely manner.

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