Quigley, Issa Host Bipartisan Transparency Caucus Briefing on DATA Act Implementation
WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Representatives Mike Quigley (IL-05) and Darrell Issa (CA-49), Co-Chairs of the Transparency Caucus, held a bipartisan briefing to discuss the implementation of the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act (DATA Act) and the challenges Congress faces as it works to bring greater transparency to the federal budget process.
“These first-ever government-wide data standards for federal spending go a long way in bringing accessibility and transparency to the federal budget,” said Rep. Quigley. “Making government data available online and in a standard, easy to use format will allow better accountability, ensuring taxpayer dollars are tracked through every stage of federal spending. However, without proper implementation from our federal agencies, we will not be able to bring the federal budget into the 21st century. I appreciate Rep. Issa and the panelists from today’s briefing for shining a light on the difficulty of bringing greater transparency to the federal budget process.”
“The first step to addressing waste, fraud and abuse in government, is making it open and visible to the public. The DATA Act act opens government by creating a single, uniform, searchable format for government data so that watchdogs, taxpayers, and citizens-alike can easily search and uncover information about their government,” said Rep. Issa. “It’s important that this administration, in its final months, exercise ongoing vigilance with its implementation and I’m pleased to participate in this discussion so we can bring even greater transparency to our federal government."
From left to right: Dave Williams, Former Inspector General for the Postal Service; Sean Moulton, Open Government Program Manager for the Project on Government Oversight; Daniel Schuman, Policy Director at Demand Progress; Hudson Hollister, Founder and Executive Director of the Data Transparency Coalition; U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley (IL-05)
On May 9, 2014, President Obama signed the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act (DATA Act) into law, after it passed the House of Representatives and the Senate unanimously. The DATA Act requires the Department of Treasury and the Office of Management and Budget to transform U.S. federal documents into open, standardized data, and publish that data online. The DATA Act mandates two basic steps: first, standardize the data elements and format of the federal government’s existing spending reports. Second, publish all that information as standardized, machine-readable data. It is the nation’s first legislative mandate for data transparency.
Reps. Quigley and Issa gave opening remarks, followed by a panelist discussion. Panelists included: Daniel Schuman, Policy Director at Demand Progress; Hudson Hollister, Founder and Executive Director of the Data Transparency Coalition; Dave Williams, Former Inspector General for the Postal Service; and Sean Moulton, Open Government Program Manager for the Project on Government Oversight.
“The DATA Act is one of the top bipartisan transparency-related legislative accomplishments of the last decade, but the executive branch has been dragging its feet on implementation,” said Daniel Schuman, Policy Director at Demand Progress. “Today's Congressional Transparency Caucus event, featuring Reps. Quigley and Issa, underscores Congress's commitment to making real the idea of true federal spending transparency.”
"The DATA Act promises to deliver a clearer, more comprehensive public view of how taxpayers' money is being spent - but only if federal agencies follow the law. Our Coalition member companies are ready to use federal spending data to create new visualizations and power new analytics - but we can't do it unless agencies adopt a consistent format across all spending, as the DATA Act requires. That's why it's so important for Congress to scrutinize what the agencies are doing, even after passing the law," said Hudson Hollister, Founder and Executive Director of the Data Transparency Coalition.
The bipartisan Transparency Caucus serves as a resource for Members of Congress on bipartisan, open government initiatives. The caucus promotes legislation that requires federal information to be freely accessible, as well as advocates for new programs that support transparency.
Rep. Quigley has made government reform, transparency and fiscal responsibility the cornerstones of his legislative agenda throughout his time in Congress. He is a co-founder and co-chair of the bipartisan Congressional Transparency Caucus and has reached across the aisle to introduce bipartisan bills that would provide public access to taxpayer-funded reports written by the Congressional Research Service and federal agencies.