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H.R. 850 (115th): Agency Accountability Act of 2017

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The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress, and was published on Feb 3, 2017.

Agency Accountability Act of 2017

This bill requires any agency that receives a fee, fine, penalty, or proceeds from a settlement to deposit the amount in the general fund of the Treasury.

The funds may not be used unless the funding is provided in advance in an appropriations bill. Any amounts deposited during the fiscal year in which this bill is enacted may not be obligated during the fiscal year and must be used for deficit reduction.

The bill includes an exception for funds to be paid to an individual entitled to receive the funds as a whistle-blower, including funds received as a percentage of amounts received by the government pursuant to a judgment or settlement agreement.

The bill amends the Congressional Budget Act of 1974 to require offsetting receipts and collections to be treated as revenue. (Offsetting receipts and collections are funds collected by agencies from other government accounts or from the public in businesslike or market-oriented transactions. Under current law, the collections are treated as negative budget authority and outlays rather than revenue and may be used to offset spending for budget enforcement purposes.)

The requirements of the bill do not apply to the U.S. Postal Service or the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). The Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and the Director of the USPTO must submit annually to Congress a report describing any fee, fine, penalty, or proceeds from a settlement collected by the USPTO during the previous year.