DATA Act one step closer to becoming law

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Editor’s note: Story has been updated to include a comment from Rep. Rush Holt.

The House overwhelmingly passed Nov 18 the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act, with a lone dissenting vote coming from Rep. Rush Holt, D-N.J.

Known as the DATA Act, the bill would require all federal spending data to be compiled and published on a single website for the public to access. The bill requires the inspectors general of each agency and the comptroller general to report biannually on the accuracy and completeness of the data.

“The DATA Act is bipartisan and bicameral and widely supported,” said Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., one of the bill’s sponsors

The Senate companion bill was unanimously voted out of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs on Nov. 6. Sens. Mark Warner, D-Va., and Rob Portman, R-Ohio, authored the Senate bill.

Representatives from both sides of the aisle spoke in favor of the bill before its passage.

Majority Leader Rep. Eric Cantor, R-Va., highlighted the possibilities for organizations to “turn data into action.”

Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-D.C., supported the bill, but reminded the House there still was no provision to require feedback from the stakeholders before the Office of Management and Budget decides whether to extend the pilot project.

“This, however, is a good bill…and I urge my colleagues to support this legislation,” she said.

Holt voted against the bill because it would cut the travel of federal employees to conferences and meetings by 30 percent.

“While [the DATA Act] takes some laudable attempts to increase transparency, it will undoubtedly stifle scientific collaboration,” he said.

It is still unknown if the Senate will bring the bill to the floor before the yearend.

“Everyone I’ve talked to is optimistic,” said Matthew Rumsey, who works for the Sunlight Foundation. “We will keep following it and keep pushing forward to make sure it stays in the public eye.”

Last year, a similar bill of the same name passed the House, but was never voted on in the Senate.

-In this Story-

Congress, Darrell Issa, DATA Act, data analytics, Eleanor Holmes Norton, Eric Cantor, Government IT News, Matthew Rumsey, open data, open government, Tech
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