Diverse coalition unites to support strong DATA Act

A burlap sack stuffed with money. The word Government is written on the sack.
Photo credit: Flickr/User 401(K) 2013

Today, the Sunlight Foundation joined a diverse group of organizations in supporting the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act (DATA Act), S. 994 and H.R. 2061 — legislation that would help to standardize and publish federal spending data.

The groups came together in response to a leaked document that shows proposed revisions, drafted by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), which would severely weaken the DATA Act. The coalition urged the White House and key Senate backers of the bill to reject the extreme proposals contained in the leaked document and enact a version of the DATA Act that includes the strongest provisions contained in both House and Senate versions of the bill. Specifically, the coalition called for the inclusion of language creating strong, government-wide data standards and mandating publication on USASpending.gov.

The Sunlight Foundation has supported the DATA Act since it was originally introduced, in part because of its strong provisions on data standardization and publication. Last week’s leaked draft of OMB revisions would strip these provisions of their power, rendering the legislation ineffective.

Since its original introduction, the legislation has built strong bipartisan support in both Chambers of Congress. The House of Representatives passed their version on a near-unanimous vote late last year shortly after the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee unanimously reported their draft of the bill to the full Senate.

You can view the full text of both letters below.

DATA Act – White House Letter – 2/2014

Data Act – Congressional Letter – 2/2014