The Senate on Thursday passed the long-awaited Digital Accountability and Transparency Act, sending the bill to the House, where it is expected to pass swiftly.
The bill is being hailed by many as landmark open data legislation that would standardize how the federal government publishes its spending data.
“We’re excited to welcome this bipartisan — and now, bicameral — endorsement for delivering reliable, accessible data about how taxpayers’ dollars are being spent,” said Hudson Hollister, executive director the Data Transparency Coalition. “The DATA Act will turn federal spending information into open spending data – a valuable new public resource that strengthens democratic accountability and spurs innovation.”
Hollister drafted the initial version of the DATA Act in 2009, and has been championing the bill in his role at the Data Transparency Coalition.
The legislation mandates the publication of all federal spending disclosures as standardized open data. Currently, most information is unavailable in a searchable format, and difficult to access. The DATA Act also establishes comprehensive mandates to standardize and publish the executive branch’s entire portfolio of spending information.
“The Senate passage of the DATA Act reaffirms Congress’ commitment to federal spending transparency,” Kaitlin Devine, senior developer at the Sunlight Foundation, told FedScoop.
“They’ve seen where the previous legislation on the issue has fallen short, and have iterated on the same concept to keep improving the public’s access to government spending data,” Devine added, referring to the 2006 Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act. “What remains to be seen is how the administration will handle this new mandate.”
The House will be back in session April 28.