After three years of debating and negotiating the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act (DATA Act), it is finally making its way to President Obama after the House of Representatives unanimously approved it.
“Our Coalition now calls on President Obama to put his open data policies into action by signing the DATA Act and committing his Office of Management and Budget to pursue robust data standards throughout federal financial, budget, grant, and contract reporting,” said Hudson Hollister, executive director of the Data Transparency Coalition.
(Related: Coalition pushes for federal data standards)
The DATA Act means to change how the U.S. government reports its spending. The act would make federal reporting standardized into a consistent format. According to Hollister, implementing it would provide better transparency, improved federal management and reduced compliance costs.
“The DATA Act means that for the first time in history, our complicated federal information system can become more democratic and open to public inquiry and participation,” said Tim Day, vice president of government affairs at Teradata. “It means government agencies can and must share information and collaborate more openly. The application of advanced information technology, deployed by experienced data services teams, can extend the great power of self-government to more of the people, more of the time.”
The DATA Act was first introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives on May 21, 2013, and passed 388 to 1 on Nov. 18, 2013. It was then sent to the Senate, which unanimously approved an amended version of the act, then sent back to the House for approval, which it unanimously approved yesterday.
The Senate’s final version of the DATA Act places the U.S. Treasury Department and the White House Office of Management and Budget in joint control of the development of data standards.
President Obama is expected to sign the DATA Act in the next couple of days.
“The bottom line is that for the first time, the taxpayer will be able to hold the government more accountable, and track activities, using data,” said Day.