Sen. Warner applauds step forward in improving government transparency

mark-warnerToday, the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and the U.S. Department of the Treasuryannounced a major step forward in standardizing and reporting federal spending as required under the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act (DATA Act).

The DATA Act, which was introduced in the Senate by Sens. Mark Warner (D-VA) and Rob Portman (R-OH) and signed into law by President Obama on May 9, 2014, requires federal agencies to account for every dollar they spend on a single website in an easy-to-read format that will allow taxpayers and lawmakers to better track waste, fraud and abuse across all agencies.

“In the digital age, taxpayers should be able to search online to see how every federal grant, contract and disbursement is spent. Last year Congress heard independent watchdogs’ and transparency advocates’ calls for open data and more transparency in federal spending and unanimously passed the DATA Act,” said Sen. Warner. “I’m pleased that OMB and Treasury have issued, for the first time, requirements for all federal agencies to make spending data more accessible, searchable, and reliable.  Streamlining this data will be no small task and I applaud them for putting forward a comprehensive and innovative plan to achieve these important goals. I look forward to working with the Administration on these continued efforts to create a more data-driven and transparent government and I will keep monitoring this process to make sure that this progress continues. ”

Currently, the federal government produces huge amounts of data about how it spends money, but this data is not always readily available or available in a consistent, useful format. The DATA Act requires the federal government, over a two-year period starting today, to implement a system for streamlining this fragmentation and reporting their spending using common government-wide standards.

Today OMB and Treasury released 57 data standards that are the first step to implementing the DATA Act, instructing agencies on how to comply with the transparency and efficiency requirements in the law, with the goal of finalizing all 57 standards by the end of this summer.

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