President Obama on Friday signed U.S. Sen. Mark Warner’s (D-Va.) bipartisan legislation to standardize federal spending data and post it on a single website so Virginians can track how their tax dollars are being spent. The DATA Act, which was co-sponsored by Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) and House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA-49) and Ranking Member Elijah Cummings (D-MD-7), has been described as the most significant open-government initiative since the Freedom of Information Act of 1966.
“Improved transparency means greater accountability to the taxpayers, and I appreciate the combined efforts of our bipartisan partners on both sides of capitol hill in successfully winning passage of the DATA Act,” Sen. Warner said. “Right now, federal spending data is not always readily available and, if it is, it’s often in a format that is not very useful. This new law requires federal agencies to account for every dollar they spend on a single website, in an easy-to-read format, and it will help us to identify duplication, waste and fraud.”
The DATA Act builds on Sen. Warner’s efforts to demand greater accountability and efficiency in federal programs and spending. Sen. Warner also successfully sponsored the Government Performance and Results Modernization Act of 2010, which requires federal agencies to report results quarterly on their highest priority programs, and to designate a performance improvement officer for each agency. In addition, Sen. Warner also has introduced bipartisan legislation to eliminate redundant or outdated federal reports, as well as legislation to improve the cost benefit analysis conducted when federal agencies propose new regulations.