This Week in Grants News
“This Week in Grants News” is a resource Management Concepts provides to keep you informed of important grants-related news from the week.
- Data Transparency: Oversight Needed to Address Underreporting and Inconsistencies on USASpending.gov
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) examined agency compliance with the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act (FFATA). FFATA requires agencies to publish award data on USASpending.gov. Multiple government and private studies have found deficiencies in agency reporting on the website. In the latest GAO review, auditors found continued problems related to agencies reporting accurate and complete data for Federal grant awards. GAO estimated the total amount of funding not reported, or reported late, in 2012 was nearly $619 billion. Agencies provided numerous reasons for the reporting problems, including: technical issues, unclear understanding regarding reporting requirements, and lack of internal oversight. GAO recommends improved guidance to Federal agencies detailing reporting requirements and the development of a governmentwide oversight process to ensure agencies are providing consistent information. Read the full report here.
- GAO: Agencies Performed Internal Control Assessments Consistent with Guidance
The GAO issued a report on the internal control processes of the five largest grant-making agencies. The GAO examined the extent in which the Departments of Health and Human Services (HHS), Education, Transportation, Agriculture, and Housing and Urban Development (HUD) complied with requirements in OMB Circular A-123. A-123 requires agencies to provide assurances about the quality and effectiveness of internal controls. Agencies reported ongoing difficulties with making improper payments and deobligating unused grant funds in a timely manner. Read the report here.
- Congress Remains Stalled on Spending Bills
On August 1, Congress began its five week August recess. Congress left Washington without approving any of the twelve annual appropriations bills for Fiscal Year 2015, which begins on October 1. To date, the House has approved seven appropriations bills, while the Senate has yet to approve a single appropriations bill. To avert a government shutdown, Congress is expected to approve a continuing resolution in September to fund all government operations through mid-December. Read more here.
- President Signs Executive Order to Enforce Labor Laws
President Obama signed an executive order requiring Federal contractors to certify their compliance with fourteen Federal labor laws. The executive order applies to prime contractors and subcontractors receiving more than $500,000 in Federal contracts. Contractors will be required to notify awarding agencies of any violation of the specific laws in the previous three years. This executive order will not affect grant recipients directly; however, any contract made with a Federal grant award in excess of $500,000 will need to contain a provision regarding this new requirement. Read more here.