Senator McCaskill Announces Hearing on Contracting Database, Calls for Public’s Questions

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Senator McCaskill just announced something doubly relevant to these groups.  (posted to both Open House and Sunlight Labs lists)

First, she’s the Chair of the Contracting Subcommittee of the Senate Homeland Security and Gov’t Affairs Committee, and they’ve just annoucned a hearing on a new unified database structure for government spending.  The below press release has more detail, but the short story is that the way this database is created will have enormous impact on how spending accountability functions online.

Second, she is asking the Open Government community for questions she should be asking.  Here’s where they’re asking for questions:

http://su.pr/4cbYQT http://www.stumbleupon.com/s/#4cbYQT/mccaskill.senate.gov/issues/soco/suggestions.cfm/ http://mccaskill.senate.gov/issues/soco/suggestions.cfm/

That means there are at least two reasons to participate.  One: online spending transparency needs to be built well.  Two: other committee chairs should engage in similar behavior.  This community can significantly affect both the database and the participatory processes, by participating.

(start press release)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                Contact: Maria Speiser 202-228-6263

September 15, 2009                                                   Adrianne Marsh 202-228-6253

CONTRACTING OVERSIGHT SUBCOMMITTEE TO EXAMINE HOW THE GOVERNMENT TRACKS CONTRACTS

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Subcommittee on Contracting Oversight, chaired by Chairman Claire McCaskill, will hold a public hearing on Tuesday, September 29 to examine the way the federal government tracks information relating to federal contracts.  The Subcommittee will assess the problems of the decentralized and cumbersome systems presently in place, and discuss current plans to develop a new platform for integrating these systems to ensure that goals of efficiency, transparency, and accessibility are met.

Currently, the federal government retains contract information in multiple outdated and inefficient databases maintained by various government agencies.  The federal government has begun efforts to streamline and improve the system by planning to create the Integrated Acquisition Environment, and the General Services Administration (GSA) is planning to move forward with awarding the Architecture Operations Contract Support (AOCS) contract to develop a new platform for integrating information relating to government contracting.  GSA is expected to award the contract by the end of the month.  The Subcommittee will hear testimony from both stakeholders and government officials.

Who:                Subcommittee on Contracting Oversight

What:              Public Hearing on Improving Transparency and Accessibility of Federal Contracting Databases

When: Tuesday, September 29 2009, at 10:00 a.m. ET

Where: Dirksen Senate Office Building Room SD-342

Witnesses:                 Panel I

William T. Woods

Director, Acquisition and Sourcing Management

U.S. Government Accountability Office

Adam Hughes

Director of Federal Fiscal Policy

OMB Watch

A.R. Trey Hodgkins, III

Vice President for National Security & Procurement Policy

TechAmerica

Panel II

Vivek Kundra

Federal Chief Information Officer &

Administrator, Office of E-Government and Information Technology

Office of Management and Budget

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