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The Senate approved a major jobs bill today that included a bipartisan amendment submitted by Senator Warner that will fix gaps in how the federal government is tracking stimulus spending.

The amendment aims to set performance measurements for federal agencies that distribute federal stimulus dollars – and toughens reporting requirements on those who receive stimulus-related grants and contracts.

As Senator Warner said today on the Senate floor: "This is basic business accountability."

"With so much of the stimulus funding still in the pipeline, this amendment will allows us to drastically improve how we measure and report outcomes and have accurate and viable reports and results for taxpayers."

Here is what his amendments will do:

  • Federal agencies must act quickly to evaluate and update their plans to include performance measurement tools, which are used to gauge the effectiveness of stimulus-related spending, by July 30, 2010.
  • By September 30, 2010, federal agencies will be required to begin submitting quarterly reports to Congress and publicly disclose the outcome and results of programs that are funded through the stimulus legislation.
  • If grant recipients knowingly and consistently fail to comply with these requirements, they could face stiff financial penalties up to $250,000.

Republican Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma endorsed Senator Warner's amendment, calling it a "very noble attempt to try to put a better handle on the stimulus."

"It's exciting for me to see a bipartisan attempt to start bringing teeth into the laws that we pass, not towards the American public, but towards the agencies that administer funds."

You can watch Senator Warner's floor speech below: