WASHINGTON -- U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) today introduced legislation that increases federal fiscal transparency and accountability by establishing a single web-based platform to allow taxpayers and policymakers to more easily track all federal spending. The Digital Accountability and Transparency Act (DATA) is a Senate version of legislation introduced earlier this week by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), the chairman of the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.
The proposal combines and incorporates the best of the Office of Management & Budget’s USASpending.gov website as well as the stimulus-tracking website Recovery.gov, and consolidates data from all federal spending including grants, contracts, loans and expenses of federal agencies. The legislation also establishes consistent standards for reporting this spending data by agencies and recipients in a standard format.
“Standardizing the way this information is reported, and then centralizing the way it’s publicly disclosed, will make it a lot easier to identify needless duplication and inefficiency and help us spot and prevent waste and fraud,” Senator Warner said. “This legislation is an example of how Washington is supposed to work. It builds on the work of the Office of Management and Budget and the Recovery Board as well as the work of Chairman Issa in the House. By working together in a bipartisan way, we will create a powerful new tool that further empowers taxpayers and policymakers and changes the way the federal government does business.”
The DATA Act:
- Establishes a universal standard of recipient reporting for money received from the federal government directly to an independent database. This has widely been credited as the key to the success of the Recovery Board in catching and preventing fraud, waste, and abuse in stimulus spending.
- Collects agency expenditure data and combines it with the recipient reported data. This will allow agencies, Congress, and citizens to discover waste and inefficiency in government and highlight issues that result in improper payments.
- Creates a permanent successor to the Recovery Board, to be designated as the Federal Accountability and Spending Transparency Board (FAST Board).
- Directs the new FAST Board to establish common identifiers and consistent reporting standards for all federally collected data.
A copy of the legislation can be accessed here.
Senator Warner is chairman of the Senate Budget Committee's bipartisan Task Force on Government Performance. Earlier this year, the President signed into law the Government Performance and Results Modernization Act of 2010, of which Sen. Warner was a lead sponsor. GPRA requires each federal agency to identify their top priorities, publicly report program results, and identify ineffective and overlapping federal programs for possible consolidation or elimination.