“ “The DATA Act is about to shake up federal operations.” --- Joseph Marks, NextGov, 4/28/14
DATA’s Purpose = Accurate, Complete, Useful Governmentwide Spending Data Governmentwide Data Standards: Establish Government- wide data standards for financial data Full Disclosure of Federal Funds: Disclose direct Federal agency expenditures and link Federal contract, loan, and grant spending information to Federal agency programs; Simple Recipient Reporting: Streamline and consolidate reporting for entities receiving Federal funds Data Analytics: Apply approaches developed by the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board to spending across the Federal Government, both for IG functions and program functions.
Genesis of DATA Act FFATA: In 2006, the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act created USASpending.gov and directed agencies to report information on the award of taxpayer dollars, and recipients to report information on subawards. Public Interest Groups: Data quality problems highlighted by Sunlight Foundation’s Clearspending reports and other groups led to calls for action to improve FFATA. Recovery Board: Successful implementation of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act transparency measures provided model for federal spending transparency reform. GAO Reports: Government Accountability Office (GAO) has identified federal agencies’ inability to provide program-by-program spending information as a major contributor to waste, duplication and fragmentation.
Legislative History Digital Accountability and Transparency Act (DATA Act) first introduced in the House and Senate in 2011 by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) and Senator Mark Warner (D-VA), and cosponsored by Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) and Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) Final version (S. 994) moved in the Senate on April 10, 2014 as a House/Senate compromise. House adopted it on April 28 th President signed it on May 9, 2014 DATA is Public Law No. 113-101
Governmentwide Data Standards Established by Secretary of the Treasury and Director of OMB. Common data elements, such as those developed and maintained by an international voluntary consensus standards body, federal agencies, and accounting standards organizations; Machine readable, nonproprietary, searchable, and platform independent; Unique identifiers for Federal awards and recipients, applicable governmentwide; Consistent with and implement applicable accounting principles and Capable of being continually upgraded as necessary; Produce consistent and comparable data, including across program activities; and establish a standard method of conveying the reporting period, reporting entity, unit of measure, and other associated attributes.
Full Disclosure of Federal Funds By Appropriations Account agencies will report the amount of budget authority appropriated the amount obligated unobligated balances any other budgetary resources the appropriations made for each object class (codes for the nature of services provided or received) the outlays made for each object class By Program Activity agencies will report from which accounts and in what amount appropriations are obligated from which accounts and in what amounts outlays are made. the amount obligated for each object class the outlays made for each object class
Simple Recipient Reporting DATA establishes a 2-year pilot program, run by OMB or a designee, to test consolidation of recipient reporting. Consolidated/streamlined reporting can save states, localities, universities and other recipients of federal funds money by reducing overhead. At the end of the 2-year pilot, OMB is required to apply the data standards developed under DATA in a way that reduces compliance burden, simplifies the reporting process, and reduces duplicative reports.
Data Analysis Center Secretary of the Treasury can establish a data analysis center, modeled on the Recovery Operations Center of the Recovery Board, to assist agencies and inspectors general with analytics. Importantly, the center will be able to enter into MOUs to assist IGs and other law enforcement in the conduct of criminal and other investigations. Recovery Operations Center assets transfer to Treasury.
Implementation Timeline May 2014: Enacted. May 2015: Treasury and OMB issue data standards. OMB begins recipient reporting pilot program May 2017: Federal agencies required to report using new standards (2 years after guidance on standards is issued) Treasury and OMB required to ensure spending information published at least quarterly- ideally monthly USASpending.gov data required to adhere to data standards. Recipient reporting pilot program ends, OMB submits report to Congress. May 2018 OMB issues guidance to agencies on application of data standards to recipient reports.
DOD Temporary Delay Upon request by the Secretary of Defense, OMB may grant an extension of the May 2016 reporting deadline to the Department of Defense for a period of not more than 6 months to report financial and payment information data in accordance with new data standards. OMB may not grant more than 3 extensions to the Secretary of Defense. OMB has to inform the relevant Congressional Committees in writing of the reasons for each extension. This accommodation was requested by Senate Armed Services Committee, under the auspices of not disrupting DOD’s efforts to meet their statutory goal to become audit-ready by 2017.
Legislative Implications of DATA The reports required by DATA will give Congress more complete, thorough, accurate and timely information about how agencies actually spend the taxpayer money Congress authorize and appropriate. The new spending information will impact budget writing, appropriation, authorizing, and oversight. By supplying the appropriation information in standardized data, we can complete the “lifecycle of federal spending information” envisioned by reformers in both the executive and legislative branch.
Federal Spending Information “Life-Cycle” 13 Appropriation Apportionment Allotment (Allocation) Commitment Obligation Payment 360 Spending Life Cycle DATA Act FFATA (USAspending.gov) Award Receipts/ Financing