Despite new guidance on how agencies can meet the requirements prescribed by the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act of 2014, or DATA Act, many questions remain.
On the first anniversary of the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act of 2014, the next phase of its implementation begins. The Office of Management and Budget and the Treasury Department have issued 57 governmentwide standards for posting to USAspending.gov.
Changes made over the past week show "this isn't a one and done thing" said a Treasury official speaking on background. "It's iterative. It's going to be a continuous process," he added.
Try as it might, the federal government doesn't have the best track record on publicly reporting spending data, Gene Dodaro, comptroller general of the Government Accountability Office, told lawmakers Dec. 3. USASpending.gov's success thus far could serve as a cautionary tale for the implementation of the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act, or DATA Act, said Dodaro during a hearing of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.
Conformance with the newly-enacted Digital Accountability and Transparency Act will require heavy lifting on the part of government, said Federal Chief Information Officer Steven VanRoekel. "As far as systems today and how we can get there, they don't necessarily map in the way that the act described," said VanRoekel.
"There are many, many ways to fudge the work that OMB and Treasury now have to do," said Hudson Hollister of the Data Transparency Coalition.
Bipartisan legislation designed to bring greater transparency, consistency and accuracy into federal government spending through the use of strong, uniform open data standards is headed to President Obama for his signature.
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.