Committee Leaders Stress Importance of Data Act Implementation

Published: May 8, 2017

Bipartisan letter lists five recommendations for successful application

WASHINGTON – Today, ahead of a major reporting milestone for the Digital Accountability and Transparency (DATA) Act, leaders from the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee sent a letter to the heads of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and the U.S. Treasury warning of ongoing implementation challenges that threaten the Act’s ultimate success if left unaddressed.

 

The letter reiterates five recommendations that the Government Accountability Office (GAO) deemed necessary for successful implementation and requires an update from Treasury on their efforts no later than May 22, 2017.    

 

The letter is signed by Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), Ranking Member Elijah Cummings (D-MD), Subcommittee on Government Operations Chairman Mark Meadows (R-NC) and Ranking Member Gerald Connolly (D-VA), and Subcommittee on Information Technology Chairman Will Hurd (R-TX) and Ranking Member Robin Kelly (D-IL). 

 

Excerpts from the letter:

Addressing… outstanding issues is important to mitigating risks to DATA Act implementation. There are five recommendations in particular that GAO has identified as necessary for successful DATA Act implementation, some of which are amongst the highest priorities to OMB and Treasury:

 

1. Establish a set of clear policies and processes for developing and maintaining data standards that are consistent with leading practices for data governance.

2. Accelerate efforts to determine how best to merge DATA Act purposes and requirements to produce a federal program inventory.

3. Provide agencies with additional guidance to address potential clarity, consistency or quality issues with the definitions for specific data elements including Award Description and Primary Place of Performance and that they clearly document and communicate these actions to agencies providing this data as well as to end-users.

4. Establish or leverage processes to determine the complete population of agencies that are required to report spending data under the DATA Act.

5. Establish mechanisms to assess the results of independent audits and reviews of agencies’ compliance with the DATA Act requirements, including those of agency inspectors general, to help inform full implementation of the act’s requirements across government. 

 

Click here to view the letter.

 

Background:

The DATA Act modernizes federal spending data by creating a uniform standard for agencies to report detailed, program level financial data. This bill makes it easier to track and analyze the use of federal taxpayer dollars.

 

On May 9, 2017, the spending data reported by federal agencies will become public on USASpending.gov.