Last night, the House passed a bill sponsored by House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., titled the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act (DATA Act). The bipartisan measure, which gained support almost unanimously (388 to 1), attempts to make federal spending data more transparent and easier to compare across agencies.
By creating a uniform coding system across federal agencies for spending data, supporters of the law say that internal auditors and external watchdogs will now be better equipped to compare how agencies are spending compared to one another. According to POGO, a group that has been an outspoken supporter of The DATA Act: “Data standardization, unique identifiers for contractors and grantees, and the combination of data coming in from separate reporting streams are provisions that will turn USASpending.gov from an incomprehensible heap into a reliable system. Another crucial reform will link transaction-level obligations (such as the signing of contracts and grants) with the checks that are actually cut.”
In a statement about the legislation, Issa said, “[The DATA Act] will create the opportunity for government to be more efficient, more effective, and more transparent,” He went on to say that, “The American people deserve real accountability of how their taxpayer dollars are spent, now more than ever.”
Issa discusses the importance of the DATA Act on the floor of the House: