Routine citizen checks on government program spending using USASpending.gov data are set up to be practical, and worth the time. The Data Accountability and Transparency Act passed by the Congress, and sent to the President for his signature on April 28th, stops federal government agencies from releasing incomplete, or, inaccurate program spending data to the public.
Agencies must report their financial information in standard format. Each program gets a spending number report. On time.
The goal is to "improve federal government," Representative Darrell Issa (R-San Diego), the bill's author, said the day Congress passed the bill. Watching over near two million federal workers, and the billions of taxpayer dollars they work with, had been work citizens could not trust in. Spending amount mistakes, and missing data, kept how the government spends taxpayer money inside knowledge.
Issa planned a big step in financial transparency before he passed the bill he first proposed in 2011 in April. An antiquated financial accounting system in Washington, DC, one that had no standard performance measures, left citizens, and policymakers, uncertain on where the money went. There was no agreement among agencies on making spending disclosures consistent.
Unaccountable bureaucrats made public spending increases a tough job, if not a disappointment. Even for a seasoned legislator like Darrell Issa. The House Chairman of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.
Now, accurate and complete data on agency program spending will fill USASpending.gov pages. Free, downloadable data computers and mobile devices can read accurately. All the data measures up to a governmentwide standard all agencies follow. Data on taxpayer money spent and reported by federal contractors also measures up to the standard.
A standard, the law says, set in Washington, DC to get continuous upgrades.
Technology America can use to handle mas federal government spending data, and put all the right dollar numbers in the public eye, will stay a real working fixture citizens can dpend on at USASpending.gov. Issa, committed to the U.S. government innovating at an up to date pace during the technology revolution, guaranteed agencies, and the data center, will "better" use technology advances than in past decades. His mandate for future progress in the Capital? "Transform the way we govern."
This is an On The Watch Take.