Senate introduces legislation to track federal spending

Monday - 6/20/2011, 3:49pm EDT

By Courtney Thompson
Federal News Radio

Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) introduced legislation June 16 to help track federal spending in a more consistent and transparent manner.

The Digital Accountability and Transparency Act (DATA) establishes a website to consolidate spending data from all federal agencies into one place and sets up a standard reporting format that agencies and their recipients can use to report that data.

The web-based system combines aspects of the Office of Management and Budget's website, USASpending.gov and the stimulus-tracking website, Recovery.gov, which has been acknowledged for limiting misuse of spending for the current Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board.

The bill is the Senate version of a bill introduced last week by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Ca.) in the House.

"By working together in a bipartisan way, we [the Senate and the House] will create a powerful new tool that further empowers taxpayers and policymakers and changes the way the federal government does business," Warner said in a press release.

The bill also establishes the Federal Accountability and Spending Transparency Board, which will replace the current Recovery Board. The FAST Board will be responsible for creating the new reporting standards.

"Standardizing the way this information is reported, and then centralizing the way it's publicly disclosed, will make it a lot easier to identify needless duplication and inefficiency and help us spot and prevent waste and fraud," Warner said.

The DATA plan will advance the efforts of the Government Performance and Results Modernization Act of 2010, of which Warner, the chairman of the Senate Budget Committee's bipartisan Task Force on Government Performance, successfully implemented also. GPRA helps federal agencies to identify and consolidate ineffective or duplicative programs in the federal government.

Courtney Thompson is an intern with Federal News Radio.

(Copyright 2011 by Federal News Radio. All Rights Reserved.)

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