The Digital Accountability and Transparency Act took another step toward enactment into law after the Senate passed the bill unanimously Thursday. After it passed, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee released a statement in support of the Senate version, calling it a compromise supported by leaders from both parties in both chambers.
A coalition of advocacy groups criticized the Obama administration for revisions it proposed to the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act in a Feb. 11 letter to the president.
Even without the financial oversight responsibilities the Treasury Department would receive under the House-approved version of the DATA Act (H.R. 2061), the department intends to standardize the subset of agency financial reporting it already controls, said a Treasury Department official.
The House passed Nov. 19 the DATA Act (H.R. 2061), which requires federal agencies and departments to release more complete and higher-quality spending data. The bill also shifts oversight of federal spending transparency dashboard USASpending.gov from the Office of Management and Budget to the Treasury Department.
Federal spending data systems have improved in recent years but still come up short in their efforts to fully inform the public on government spending, says a June 6 brief from the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) will try again this year to pass into law a bill that would require federal agencies and companies or organizations receiving federal dollars to report back each quarter financial data using standardized data elements.
"One looks like a democracy and the other is national security state, where claims of national security usually trump openness and accountability," Angela Canterbury, director of public policy for the Project on Government Oversight, told the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform March 13.
Obama administration officials spoke out against House-approved legislation that would require federal contractors and grant recipients to report quarterly their receipt and use of federal dollars and institutionalize a new board to oversee that reporting."We should not be asking recipients to do our work for us," said Richard Gregg, head of the office of fiscal service within the Treasury Department.
The House approved April 25 by voice vote a bill that would require federal contractors and grant recipients to report quarterly their receipt and use of federal dollars. The bill states that reporting should to the extent possible incorporate existing standards, "such as the eXtensible Business Reporting Language," known as XBRL.
The recently-launched Government Accountability and Transparency Board--a follow-on to the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board, which is scheduled to sunset in September 2013--should heed