The bill was originally recommended by the 9/11 Commission, which was set up to, among other functions, look at ways to prevent future attacks like the one on the Twin Towers. Former House Intelligence Committee Chairman and Vice Chair of the 9/11 Commission Lee Hamilton endorsed the bill.
The lawmakers sponsoring the legislation span the length of the ideologically spectrum. In addition to Welch, Lummis, and Price, Democratic Rep. Luis Gutierrez of Illinois, and Republican Reps. James Sensenbrenner, Jim Jordan, and Justin Amash have signed on as sponsors.
The sixteen agencies that would have to reveal their spending habits are: Air Force Intelligence, Army Intelligence, CIA, Coast Guard Intelligence, Defense Intelligence Agency, Department of Energy, Department of Homeland Security, Department of State, Treasury Department, Drug Enforcement Administration, FBI, Marine Corps Intelligence, National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, National Reconnaissance Office, National Security Agency, and Navy Intelligence.
Lawmakers acknowledged potential criticism that revealing the budget would give enemies of the U.S. sensitive information, but said they believed revealing the top line would not do any harm.
“I don’t think [protection of the U.S.] will be compromised,” Price said. “In fact, it might be enhanced by confirming, rather than simply leaving to speculation, the substantial sums that we invest in our intelligence capabilities.”
*This post previously misidentified the state that Rep. David Price represents.