Bipartisan transparency legislation establishes digital standards to track federal spending
WASHINGTON – Today, House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) and Ranking Member Elijah E. Cummings (D-MD) praised unanimous House passage of the bipartisan Digital Accountability and Transparency Act (DATA Act) which was approved earlier this month in the Senate and now heads to President Obama’s desk for his signature. The DATA Act is sponsored by Chairman Issa and Ranking Member Cummings in the House and by Sens. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) and Rob Portman (R-OH) in the Senate. Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee Chairman Tom Carper (D-DE) and Ranking Member Tom Coburn (R-OK) helped craft the final legislation.
First introduced by Chairman Issa and Ranking Member Cummings in 2011, the DATA Act originated from the success of the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board, an entity of the “Stimulus” spending bill that standardized reporting requirements and published spending information online in a useable format for journalists, watchdogs, and the public. The DATA Act applies the same tools to revolutionize how lawmakers and the public can track federal dollars by establishing government-wide structured data standards for contracts, loans, and grants. The legislation establishes a two-year pilot for consolidated recipient reporting for entities receiving federal taxpayer funds, including states, localities, and universities. The legislation authorizes the Treasury Department to create a data analytics center based on the successful Recovery Operations Center to enable law enforcement and federal agency inspectors general to prevent improper payments. The DATA Act will improve the quality of federal spending data by requiring information to be made publically available on a single website, USASpending.gov, in a standardized, downloadable, and machine-readable format.
“Today’s passage of the DATA Act is a victory for taxpayers,” said Chairman Issa. “Addressing rampant waste and fraud in government starts with making publicly accessible, structured information available online for everyone—taxpayers and watchdogs alike. I applaud my House colleagues’ bipartisan action today to reform and improve spending transparency. The DATA Act is a win for good government, moving the federal bureaucracy into the digital age and setting the stage for real accountability.”
“I am pleased to support this landmark bill that will make fundamental changes to the way the government shares information about its spending,” said Ranking Member Cummings. “By making government spending more transparent, we will reduce wasteful spending and make the government more effective and efficient.”