Ernst: ‘Boondoggles Beware!’

Senate committee approves Ernst bill to expose boondoggles that are billions of dollars over budget and years behind schedule

WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Joni Ernst’s Billion Dollar Boondoggle Act, which exposes government projects that have become money pits for taxpayer dollars, was approved unanimously today by the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.

“Boondoggles beware,” Senator Ernst warned. “My commonsense, bipartisan bill creates an automatic alert system for projects with ballooning budgets and missed deadlines, which will make it impossible to throw taxpayer money down bottomless sinkholes without being noticed. We’re ensuring greater transparency and accountability for Iowa taxpayers, and I’m excited to see this sensible measure move unanimously through committee today.”


Senator Ernst’s bipartisan legislation, now cosponsored by U.S. Senator Gary Peters (D-MI), would require every federally-funded project that is $1 billion or more over budget or five years or more behind schedule to be publicly disclosed.  The bill would require explanations for the delays and added costs as well as the identification of the contractors.

When the bill was introduced earlier this year, Senator Ernst highlighted a number of ongoing projects that are billions of dollars over budget and years behind schedule, some of which have even been awarded bonuses.  One of those has since been canceled—the now infamous failed high-speed rail project in California that had become a financial train wreck.

The Billion Dollar Boondoggle Act must next be approved by the full Senate and the House of Representatives, where a bipartisan companion bill (H.R. 1917) has been introduced.