President Obama Signs DATA Act

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

In early May, President Obama signed the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act of 2014 (Public Law No. 113-101), which amends the eight-year-old Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act to make federal agency spending data "with more specificity and at a deeper level than is currently reported" available to the public, according to the administration. More specifically, the new law requires the development of government-wide data standards for both federal agencies and other grant recipients to improve the quality and usefulness of federal spending data provided to USASpending.gov. The Treasury secretary, in consultation with other federal agency heads, will be responsible for developing the new standards.  

Particularly relevant to states and localities, the DATA Act does not mandate additional recipient reporting, as was required in earlier versions of the legislation. Instead, the measure directs the Office of Management and Budget to establish a pilot program to help develop recommendations for standardizing reporting elements, eliminating duplicative reporting, and reducing compliance costs for federal award recipients. Upon completion of the pilot program, OMB will submit a report to Congress on its findings, and the need for further legislative action to consolidate, automate, and simplify reporting requirements for federal award recipients to reduce compliance costs and improve financial transparency.