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Posted by on Oct 1, 2012

New DATA Act Introduced in the Senate

Senator Mark Warner (D-VA) introduced a new version of the DATA Act (S.3600) after the previous version passed the House but died in the Senate.   This version differs in several ways from the previously introduced version, including a new design for the accountability board.

This new version eliminates the creation of an independent board which would have had control over all federal spending, including management of USAspending.gov, subpoena power, and other oversight tasks (see our post from June 15, 2011).  The newly introduced DATA Act stifles some of the power created in the House bill.  The Senate version’s Federal Accountability Spending and Transparency Board (FAST Board) would be smaller and not independent and is also intended to replace the President’s Government Accountability and Transparency Board created under Executive Order 13576.  According to the legislation, the board would consist of five members appointed by the President and would include at least one senior official from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).

Other pieces to note:

  • USAspending.gov would be expanded to include money spent by federal agencies on salaries, facilities, and other expenses beyond grants, loans, and contracts.
  • Both versions of the bill include a requirement for the online posting of federal funds that were actually expended, not just what was promised to contractors or grant recipients.
  • The new Senate version contains similar language to the old bill creating common data elements, “such as codes, unique award identifiers, and fields, for financial payment information required to be reported by Federal agencies.”
  • The bill would streamline recipient financial reports by requiring OMB to review reporting requirements required by the agencies in an effort to reduce duplicative financial reporting and then submit a report to Congress on any legislative action required to streamline these reporting requirements.

The full text of the legislation can be found here.

We will keep you posted on any movement through the Senate.

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