April 10, 2014

Senate Unanimously Passes Portman's Bipartisan DATA Act

Legislation allows taxpayers to track the dollars spent by federal agencies

Washington, D.C. – Today, bipartisan legislation introduced by U.S. Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Mark R. Warner (D-VA), the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act (DATA Act), passed the U.S. Senate by unanimous consent. This landmark transparency legislation reflects an agreement drafted by the bill’s sponsors from both chambers. The DATA Act is sponsored by Representatives Darrell Issa (R-CA) and Elijah Cummings (D-MD) in the House.

“During a time of record $17 trillion debt, our bipartisan bill will help identify and eliminate waste by better tracking federal spending. I am pleased that our bill to empower taxpayers to see how their money is spent and improve federal financial transparency has passed the Senate, and I urge swift passage in the House of Representatives,” Portman said.

Portman spoke on the passage of this legislation today on the Senate floor. View his remarks here.

The DATA Act will allow taxpayers and lawmakers to track the dollars spent by federal agencies and more easily identify waste, fraud, and abuse in order to create a more efficient government. It expands the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act to require full disclosure of all federal agency expenditures. It does so by:

• Making it easier to compare federal spending across federal agencies by requiring the establishment of government-wide financial data standards.

• Strengthening federal financial transparency by reforming and significantly improving USASpending.gov, requiring frequent financial updates of spending by each federal agency on a program- and object class-level basis.

• Improving the quality of spending data by establishing Government-wide standards that promote consistency and reliability. 

• Empowering agency IGs and the GAO to holding agencies accountable for the completeness, timeliness, quality, and accuracy of the data they submit to USASpending.gov.

• Simplifying reporting requirements by recipients of federal funds, eliminating unnecessary duplication, and streamlining burdensome reporting requirements while increasing transparency.

The DATA Act has strong bipartisan support from its cosponsors in the U.S. Senate, including Senators Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), Tom Carper (D-DE), Tom Coburn (R-OK), Chris Coons (D-DE), Mike Enzi (R-WY), Ron Johnson (R- WI), John McCain (R- AZ), Patty Murray (D-WA) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI).

S.994 is a Senate companion to legislation sponsored by U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) and Ranking Member Elijah Cummings (D-MD), and cosponsored by Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO),  Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-TX), Rep. Mike Quigley (D-IL), Rep. John Campbell (R-CA),  Rep. Michael Honda (D-CA), Rep. Michael Conaway (R-TX), Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-FL), and Rep. James Renacci (R-OH).

A summary of the DATA Act can be read here, and the legislation can be accessed here.