S. 994, Digital Accountability and Transparency Act (DATA Act)

S. 994

Digital Accountability and Transparency Act (DATA Act)

Sponsor
Sen. Mark R. Warner

Committee
Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs

Date
April 28, 2014 (113th Congress, 2nd Session)

Staff Contact
Communications

Floor Situation

On Monday, April 28, 2014, the House will consider S. 944, the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act (DATA Act), under a suspension of the rules.  S. 994 was introduced on May 21, 2013 by Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) and passed the Senate, with an amendment, by unanimous consent. The House approved the House-version of the DATA Act (H.R. 2146), introduced by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), in November 2013 on a vote of 388-1[1]. The current version of S. 994 is the result of a compromise between the House and Senate versions of the bill.
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[1] http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2013/roll588.xml

Bill Summary

S. 944 amends the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act (FFATA) of 2006 to create common standards for financial data provided by government agencies, and expands the amount of data that agencies are required to provide to USASpending.gov.  Furthermore, this legislation requires the Secretary of the Treasury and the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to establish, in consultation with public and private stakeholders, government-wide financial data standards for any federal funds made available to or expended by federal agencies and entities receiving federal funds.  This legislation requires each federal agency to report financial and payment information data within two years of the bill’s enactment, and post it on a public website within three years of the bill’s enactment. Moreover, this legislation requires the Director of OMB to review the information required to be reported by federal agencies to: 1) identify common reporting elements across the Federal Government; 2) identify unnecessary duplication in financial reporting; and 3) identify unnecessarily burdensome reporting requirements for recipients of federal awards.  Within one year of the bill’s enactment, this legislation requires the Director of OMB to establish a twelve-month pilot program to facilitate the development of recommendations to address the issues identified in the OMB Director’s review of reported information.  The Director is required to report to Congress on the pilot program within 90 days of its termination. Furthermore, this legislation would require Inspectors General at each federal agency and the Comptroller General to report on the completeness, timeliness, quality, and accuracy of spending data submitted by each agency.  The Secretary of the Treasury is authorized, under this legislation, to establish a data analysis center to support the prevention and reduction of improper payments by Federal agencies and improve the efficiency and transparency in federal spending.  An amendment to this legislation allows the Director of OMB, upon request of the Secretary of Defense, to grant an extension of the financial reporting deadline for a period of six months.

Background

Congress first addressed the issue in the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act (FFATA) of 2006.  Prior to the FFATA, there was no comprehensive, publicly accessible source of accurate and detailed information on Federal spending.[1]  In 2007, the OMB launched USAspending.gov to track the over $1 trillion in grants, loans, and contracts that agencies dispense every year.[2]  The Digital Accountability and Transparency (DATA Act) expands the FFATA to ensure that the Federal government provides consistent, reliable, and useful online data on how it spends taxpayer dollars. The House companion (H.R. 2061) passed by a vote of 388-1[3].  The current version of S. 994 is the result of a compromise between the House and Senate versions of the bill.
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[1] Senate Report 113-139, p. 2.
[2]Id. at 2.
[3]Id at 1.

Cost

The version of S. 994 advanced by the Senate and pending before the House has not been scored by CBO. A previous version of S. 994 adopted by the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee was scored as costing $300 million over five years in discretionary cost: $285 million for collection and reporting of federal spending data, and $15 million for other reporting requirements.[1] The version of S. 994 the House will consider contains an offset provision. Section 5 of the legislation amends Section 3512(a)(1) of title 31 of the U.S. Code to require Federal agencies to refer delinquent non-tax debt to the Treasury Offset Program after 120 days of delinquency, rather than the current180 days. Treasury Department analysis shows this provision could increase debt collection by well over $300 million during the five year window, offsetting the cost of the DATA Act. ____________________
[1] http://www.cbo.gov/publication/44933

Additional Information

For questions or further information contact the GOP Conference at 5-5107.