A bill that aims to give American taxpayers a clearer understanding of what their government-confiscated wealth is paying for cleared its final hurdle in Congress today, when the House approved the so-called Digital Accountability and Transparency Act (DATA) on a voice vote.
The bill, which the Senate approved in an amended form earlier this month, now moves to the Executive Branch to await President Obama’s decision on whether to sign it into law.
Under DATA, the Federal government’s various agencies would be legally bound to publish their expenditures – including contracted services and agency borrowing – on usaspending.gov. It also would require the Office of Management and Budget to set up a program intended, once it moves beyond the pilot stage, to eliminate confusing redundancies in agency reporting standards.
The bill, which drew bipartisan support in a 388-1 vote Monday, should allow Americans who want to know how tax money is apportioned to more readily understand whether “their taxpayer dollars are being wasted or if they’re being spent wisely,” according to Congressman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), who chairs the House Oversight Committee.
According to a synopsis reported by Federal Times, the DATA act would also:
- Set governmentwide financial data standards to make all spending data adhere to a uniform set of guidelines.
- Require Inspectors General at each agency to provide reports on the quality and accuracy of the financial data.
- Establish a cutting-edge data analytics center modeled after the Recovery Act that would help identify and prevent improper payments and expand analytic efforts across the government by serving agency leaders, inspectors general and watchdog groups.