WASHINGTON – Today, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee adopted several bills aimed at increasing government transparency and accountability at a full committee business meeting.
The Committee approved H.R. 2061, the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act of 2013 (DATA), which was introduced on a bipartisan basis by Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., and Ranking Member Elijah Cummings, D-Md. The DATA Act will make federal spending data publically available and easily accessible, as well as establish government-wide financial data standards. It will also improve the management and comprehensiveness of USASpending.gov by placing it under the control of the Treasury Department.
“The DATA Act is a significant step toward a more open, and thus more accountable, government,” said Chairman Issa. “Americans have a right to know how their tax dollars are being spent and I believe more transparency will lead to less waste, fraud, and abuse of federal funds.”
The DATA Act was approved by voice vote with an amendment in the nature of a substitute. The amendment, offered by Chairman Issa, would give the Administration the option to expand the requirements in the consolidated reporting pilot to all federal funds after three years, subject to the discretion of the Office of Management and Budget director.
The Committee also reported the following bills by voice vote:
- H.R. 568, to amend title 5, United States Code, to require that the Office of Personnel Management submit an annual report to Congress relating to the use of official time by Federal employees, introduced by Rep. Dennis Ross, R-Fla., approved with amendment. “Official time” is the time federal employees spend performing tasks for labor unions. Currently, there is no accurate reporting of official time, which costs taxpayers millions of dollars each year. H.R. 568 would require OPM to report to Congress the use of official time by federal employees.
- H.R. 1380, the Access to Congressionally Mandated Reports Act, introduced by Rep. Mike Quigley, D-Ill., approved with amendment. H.R. 1380 would make congressionally-mandated federal agency reports publically available by requiring the Government Printing Office to create a new website to post the reports in an accessible format.
- H.R. 2067, Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau Personnel Flexibilities Act, introduced by Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C. H.R. 2067 is designed to promote merit-based evaluation and compensation for federal employees by making permanent a pay-for-performance pilot program for the scientific and technical employees of the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB).
- H.R. 1171, the FOR VETS Act of 2013, introduced by Rep. Dan Benishek, R-Mich. H.R. 1171 permits veteran service organizations to obtain surplus federal personal property – such as electronic equipment and vehicles – to better provide services for our Nation’s veterans.