GRANT Act Introduced in House
Congressman James Lankford (R-OK) introduced the GRANT Act, HR 3316, on October 23rd. The legislation is designed to increase the transparency of the grant award process. The legislation was previously introduced in the 112th Congress, but neither chamber voted on the bill.
The legislation would increase the public’s access to the information regarding the awards process. Agencies would be required to announce all potential grant competitions for the upcoming year on their website. The bill would also codify required elements for the Notice of Funding Opportunity. Currently the required elements are contained in OMB circulars.
There are some controversial aspects to the legislation that concerns stakeholders in the grants community. The legislation would require agencies to publish on their websites the rankings of successful applicants as well as a copy of the grant agreement. Unsuccessful grant applicants would have the opportunity to request documentation relating to the award decision process and to seek clarification on why a project was not funded. Agencies would also be required to post closeout reports for each grant project. Some stakeholders believe these requirements could potentially infringe on recipients’ privacy relating to research projects, patents, and business practices.
The GRANT Act also contains provisions to mandate merit-based award selection and to require agencies to conduct financial capability evaluations of potential recipients. These requirements are similar to provisions contained in the Office of Management and Budget’s proposed “Super Circular.”
The legislation is assigned to the House Government Oversight and Reform Committee. The committee’s chairman, Congressman Darrell Issa (R-CA), is a co-sponsor of the legislation and therefore it is likely the committee will consider and approve the legislation. There is no current indication the House will consider the legislation anytime soon.
Additional information regarding the legislation can be found here.