Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006

Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006

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The Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006 (S. 2590) is an Act of Congress
Act of Congress
An Act of Congress is a statute enacted by government with a legislature named "Congress," such as the United States Congress or the Congress of the Philippines....

 that requires the full disclosure to the public of all entities or organizations receiving federal funds beginning in fiscal year (FY) 2007. The website USAspending.gov opened in December 2007 as a result of the act, and is maintained by the Office of Management and Budget. The Congressional Budget Office
Congressional Budget Office
The Congressional Budget Office is a federal agency within the legislative branch of the United States government that provides economic data to Congress....

 estimates S. 2590 will cost $15 million over its authorized time period of 2007–2011.

The bill was introduced by Senator Tom Coburn
Tom Coburn
Thomas Allen "Tom" Coburn, M.D. , is an American politician, medical doctor, and Southern Baptist deacon. A member of the Republican Party, he currently serves as the junior U.S. Senator from Oklahoma. In the Senate, he is known as "Dr. No" for his tendency to place holds on and vote against bills...

, for himself and Senators Barack Obama
Barack Obama
Barack Hussein Obama II is the 44th and current President of the United States. He is the first African American to hold the office. Obama previously served as a United States Senator from Illinois, from January 2005 until he resigned following his victory in the 2008 presidential election.Born in...

, Tom Carper
Thomas R. Carper
Thomas Richard "Tom" Carper is the senior United States Senator from Delaware and a member of the Democratic Party. He was previously the 71st Governor of Delaware and a United States Representative....

 and John McCain
John McCain
John Sidney McCain III is the senior United States Senator from Arizona. He was the Republican nominee for president in the 2008 United States election....

 on April 6, 2006. After two "secret hold
Secret hold
In the United States Senate, a hold is a parliamentary procedure permitted by the Standing Rules of the United States Senate which allows one or more Senators to prevent a motion from reaching a vote on the Senate floor....

s" placed by Senators Ted Stevens
Ted Stevens
Theodore Fulton "Ted" Stevens, Sr. was a United States Senator from Alaska, serving from December 24, 1968, until January 3, 2009, and thus the longest-serving Republican senator in history...

, a Republican, and Robert Byrd
Robert Byrd
Robert Carlyle Byrd was a United States Senator from West Virginia. A member of the Democratic Party, Byrd served as a U.S. Representative from 1953 until 1959 and as a U.S. Senator from 1959 to 2010...

, a Democrat were revealed and removed, it was passed unanimously in the Senate on September 7, 2006 and by the House on September 13, 2006. The bill was signed into law by President
President of the United States
The President of the United States of America is the head of state and head of government of the United States. The president leads the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces....

 George W. Bush
George W. Bush
George Walker Bush is an American politician who served as the 43rd President of the United States, from 2001 to 2009. Before that, he was the 46th Governor of Texas, having served from 1995 to 2000....

 on September 26, 2006.

On June 3, 2008, Senator Obama, along with Senators Carper, Coburn and McCain, introduced follow-up legislation: Strengthening Transparency and Accountability in Federal Spending Act of 2008.

Description


The bill states in part:
Not later than January 1, 2008, the Office of Management and Budget shall, in accordance with this section, section 204 of the E-Government Act of 2002 (Public Law 107-347; 44 U.S.C. 3501 note), and the Office of Federal Procurement Policy Act (41 U.S.C. 403 et seq.), ensure the existence and operation of a single searchable website, accessible by the public at no cost to access, that includes for each Federal award--

(A) the name of the entity receiving the award;
(B) the amount of the award;
(C) information on the award including transaction type, funding agency, the North American Industry Classification System code or Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance number (where applicable), program source, and an award title descriptive of the purpose of each funding action;
(D) the location of the entity receiving the award and the primary location of performance under the award, including the city, State, congressional district, and country;
(E) a unique identifier of the entity receiving the award and of the parent entity of the recipient, should the entity be owned by another entity; and
(F) any other relevant information specified by the Office of Management and Budget.

Sponsors in the Senate


In addition to Coburn, Obama, and McCain, there were 43 other Senators who co-sponsored this bill: Lamar Alexander
Lamar Alexander
Andrew Lamar Alexander is the senior United States Senator from Tennessee and Conference Chair of the Republican Party. He was previously the 45th Governor of Tennessee from 1979 to 1987, United States Secretary of Education from 1991 to 1993 under President George H. W...

, George Allen
George Allen (U.S. politician)
George Felix Allen is a former United States Senator from the Commonwealth of Virginia, and the son of former NFL head coach George Allen. Allen served Virginia in the state legislature, as the 67th Governor, and in both bodies of the U.S. Congress, winning election to the Senate in 2000...

, Max Baucus
Max Baucus
Max Sieben Baucus is the senior United States Senator from Montana and a member of the Democratic Party. First elected to the Senate in 1978, as of 2010 he is the longest-serving Senator from Montana, and the fifth longest-serving U.S...

, Evan Bayh
Evan Bayh
Birch Evans "Evan" Bayh III is a lawyer, advisor and former Democratic politician who served as the junior U.S. Senator from Indiana from 1999 to 2011. He earlier served as the 46th Governor of Indiana from 1989 to 1997. Bayh is a current Fox News contributor as of March 14, 2011.Bayh first held...

, Jeff Bingaman
Jeff Bingaman
Jesse Francis "Jeff" Bingaman, Jr. , is the senior U.S. Senator from New Mexico and a member of the Democratic Party...

, Barbara Boxer
Barbara Boxer
Barbara Levy Boxer is the junior United States Senator from California . A member of the Democratic Party, she previously served in the U.S. House of Representatives ....

, Sam Brownback
Sam Brownback
Samuel Dale "Sam" Brownback is the 46th and current Governor of Kansas. A member of the Republican Party, he served as a U.S. Senator from Kansas from 1996 to 2011, and as a U.S. Representative for Kansas's 2nd congressional district from 1995 to 1996...

, Richard Burr
Richard Burr
Richard Mauze Burr is the senior United States Senator from North Carolina and a member of the Republican Party. Previously, Burr represented North Carolina's 5th congressional district in the United States House of Representatives....

, Maria Cantwell
Maria Cantwell
Maria E. Cantwell is the junior United States Senator from the state of Washington and a member of the Democratic Party....

, Saxby Chambliss
Saxby Chambliss
Clarence Saxby Chambliss, Jr. is the senior United States Senator from Georgia. A member of the Republican Party, he previously served as a U.S. Representative ....

, Hillary Clinton, Norm Coleman
Norm Coleman
Norman Bertram Coleman, Jr. is an American attorney and politician. He was a United States senator from Minnesota from 2003 to 2009. Coleman was elected in 2002 and served in the 108th, 109th, and 110th Congresses. Before becoming a senator, he was mayor of Saint Paul, Minnesota, from 1994 to 2002...

, Susan Collins
Susan Collins
Susan Margaret Collins is the junior United States Senator from Maine and a member of the Republican Party. First elected to the Senate in 1996, she is the ranking member of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs...

, John Cornyn
John Cornyn
John Cornyn, III is the junior United States Senator for Texas, serving since 2003. He is a member of the Republican Party. He was elected Chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee for the 111th U.S. Congress....

, Larry Craig
Larry Craig
Larry Edwin Craig is a former Republican politician from the U.S. state of Idaho. He served 18 years in the U.S. Senate , preceded by 10 years in the U.S. House, representing Idaho's first district . His 28 years in the Congress rank as the second-longest in Idaho history, trailing only William...

, Jim DeMint
Jim DeMint
James Warren "Jim" DeMint is the junior U.S. Senator from South Carolina, serving since 2005. He is a member of the Republican Party and a leader in the Tea Party movement. He previously served as the U.S. Representative for from 1999 to 2005.-Early life and education:DeMint was born in...

, Mike DeWine
Mike DeWine
Richard Michael "Mike" DeWine is the Attorney General for the state of Ohio. He has held numerous offices on the state and federal level, including Ohio State Senator, four terms as a U.S. Congressman, Ohio Lt. Governor, and was a two-term U.S. Senator, serving from 1995 to 2007.- Biography :Born...

, Chris Dodd, Elizabeth Dole
Elizabeth Dole
Mary Elizabeth Alexander Hanford "Liddy" Dole is an American politician who served in both the Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush presidential administrations, as well as a United States Senator....

, Dick Durbin, Mike Enzi
Mike Enzi
Michael Bradley "Mike" Enzi is the senior U.S. Senator from Wyoming and a member of the Republican Party.Raised in Thermopolis, Wyoming, Enzi attended George Washington University and the University of Denver. He expanded his father's shoe store business in Gillette before being elected mayor of...

, Russ Feingold
Russ Feingold
Russell Dana "Russ" Feingold is an American politician from the U.S. state of Wisconsin. He served as a Democratic party member of the U.S. Senate from 1993 to 2011. From 1983 to 1993, Feingold was a Wisconsin State Senator representing the 27th District.He is a recipient of the John F...

, Bill Frist
Bill Frist
William Harrison "Bill" Frist, Sr. is an American physician, businessman, and politician. He began his career as an heir and major stockholder to the for-profit hospital chain of Hospital Corporation of America. Frist later served two terms as a Republican United States Senator representing...

, Chuck Grassley
Chuck Grassley
Charles Ernest "Chuck" Grassley is the senior United States Senator from Iowa . A member of Republican Party, he previously served in the served in the United States House of Representatives and the Iowa state legislature...

, Chuck Hagel
Chuck Hagel
Charles Timothy "Chuck" Hagel is a former United States Senator from Nebraska. A member of the Republican Party, he was first elected in 1996 and was reelected in 2002...

, Johnny Isakson
Johnny Isakson
John Hardy "Johnny" Isakson is the junior United States Senator from Georgia and a member of the Republican Party. Previously, he represented in the House....

, John Kerry
John Kerry
John Forbes Kerry is the senior United States Senator from Massachusetts, the 10th most senior U.S. Senator and chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He was the presidential nominee of the Democratic Party in the 2004 presidential election, but lost to former President George W...

, Jon Kyl
Jon Kyl
Jon Llewellyn Kyl is the junior U.S. Senator from Arizona and the Senate Minority Whip, the second-highest position in the Republican Senate leadership. In 2010 he was recognized by Time magazine as one of the 100 most influential people in the world for his persuasive role in the Senate.The son...

, Mary Landrieu
Mary Landrieu
Mary Loretta Landrieu is the senior United States Senator from the State of Louisiana and a member of the Democratic Party.Born in Arlington, Virginia, Landrieu was raised in New Orleans, Louisiana...

, Joe Lieberman
Joe Lieberman
Joseph Isadore "Joe" Lieberman is the senior United States Senator from Connecticut. A former member of the Democratic Party, he was the party's nominee for Vice President in the 2000 election. Currently an independent, he remains closely affiliated with the party.Born in Stamford, Connecticut,...

, Mitch McConnell
Mitch McConnell
Addison Mitchell "Mitch" McConnell, Jr. is the senior United States Senator from Kentucky and the Republican Minority Leader.- Early life, education, and military service :...

, Bob Menendez, Bill Nelson, Harry Reid
Harry Reid
Harry Mason Reid is the senior United States Senator from Nevada, serving since 1987. A member of the Democratic Party, he has been the Senate Majority Leader since January 2007, having previously served as Minority Leader and Minority and Majority Whip.Previously, Reid was a member of the U.S...

, Ken Salazar
Ken Salazar
Kenneth Lee "Ken" Salazar is the current United States Secretary of the Interior, in the administration of President Barack Obama. A member of the Democratic Party, he previously served as a United States Senator from Colorado from 2005 to 2009. He and Mel Martinez were the first Hispanic U.S...

, Rick Santorum
Rick Santorum
Richard John "Rick" Santorum is a lawyer and a former United States Senator from the commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Santorum was the chairman of the Senate Republican Conference -making him the third-ranking Senate Republican from 2001 until his leave in 2007. Santorum is considered both a social...

, Jeff Sessions
Jeff Sessions
Jefferson Beauregard "Jeff" Sessions III is the junior United States Senator from Alabama. First elected in 1996, Sessions is a member of the Republican Party...

, Olympia Snowe
Olympia Snowe
Olympia Jean Snowe , née Bouchles, is the senior United States Senator from Maine and a member of the Republican Party. Snowe has become widely known for her ability to influence the outcome of close votes, including whether to end filibusters. She and her fellow Senator from Maine, Susan Collins,...

, John Sununu
John E. Sununu
John Edward Sununu is a former Republican United States Senator from New Hampshire, of Lebanese and Palestinian Christian ancestry. Sununu was the youngest member of the Senate for his entire six year term. He is the son of former New Hampshire Governor John H...

, Jim Talent
Jim Talent
James Matthes "Jim" Talent is an American politician and former senator from Missouri. He is a Republican and resided in the St. Louis area while serving in elected office. He identifies with the conservative wing of the Republican party, being particularly outspoken on judicial appointments,...

, Craig Thomas, John Thune
John Thune
John Randolph Thune is the junior U.S. Senator from South Dakota and a member of the Republican Party. He previously served as a U.S. Representative for .-Early Life, Education:...

, David Vitter
David Vitter
David Vitter is the junior United States Senator from Louisiana and a member of the Republican Party. Previously, he served in the United States House of Representatives, representing the suburban Louisiana's 1st congressional district. He served as a member of the Louisiana House of...

, and George Voinovich
George Voinovich
George Victor Voinovich is a former United States Senator from the state of Ohio, and a member of the Republican Party. Previously, he served as the 65th Governor of Ohio from 1991 to 1998, and as the 54th mayor of Cleveland from 1980 to 1989.-Personal life:Born in Cleveland, Ohio, his father was...

.

Legislative history



The act had strong bipartisan support at every stage in the legislative process.

Senate


S. 2590 was introduced in the Senate on April 6, 2006 and then sent to the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Subcommittee on Federal Financial Management, Government Information, and International Security. Hearings were held in the subcommittee on July 18, 2006 and S. 2590 was then sent to the full committee. In the full committee hearings were held and an amendment was added on July 27, 2006. On August 2, 2006 S. 2590 was placed on legislative calendar 576. Senate Majority Leader
Majority leader
In U.S. politics, the majority floor leader is a partisan position in a legislative body.In the federal Congress, the role differs slightly in the two houses. In the House of Representatives, which chooses its own presiding officer, the leader of the majority party is elected the Speaker of the...

 Bill Frist
Bill Frist
William Harrison "Bill" Frist, Sr. is an American physician, businessman, and politician. He began his career as an heir and major stockholder to the for-profit hospital chain of Hospital Corporation of America. Frist later served two terms as a Republican United States Senator representing...

 announced on August 31, 2006 that he would be bringing S. 2590 to a vote in the Senate sometime in September 2006 despite any holds on the bill. On September 7, 2006 S. 2590 passed by unanimous consent
Unanimous consent
In parliamentary procedure, unanimous consent, also known as general consent, or in the case of the parliaments under the Westminster system, leave of the house, is a situation in which no one present objects to a proposal. The chair may state, for instance: "If there is no objection, the motion...

 in the Senate. For their bipartisan efforts in drafting the legislation and shepherding it into law, the lead staffers for Senators Coburn and Obama were recognized by The Hill newspaper as being among the top staffers on Capitol Hill.

House


S. 2590 introduced in the House on September 8, 2006. It was agreed upon and passed by voice vote
Voice vote
A voice vote is a voting method used by deliberative assemblies in which a vote is taken on a topic or motion by responding verbally....

 five days later and S.Con.Res. 114 was agreed to and passed by both the House and the Senate on the same day.

"Secret hold"


Some time after August 2, 2006, Senators Ted Stevens
Ted Stevens
Theodore Fulton "Ted" Stevens, Sr. was a United States Senator from Alaska, serving from December 24, 1968, until January 3, 2009, and thus the longest-serving Republican senator in history...

, a Republican, and Robert Byrd
Robert Byrd
Robert Carlyle Byrd was a United States Senator from West Virginia. A member of the Democratic Party, Byrd served as a U.S. Representative from 1953 until 1959 and as a U.S. Senator from 1959 to 2010...

, a Democrat, placed "secret holds" on S. 2590. Under Senate Rules
Standing Rules of the United States Senate
The Standing Rules of the Senate are the rules of order adopted by the United States Senate that govern its procedure. The Senate's power to establish rules derives from Article One, Section 5 of the United States Constitution: "Each House may determine the rules of its proceedings..."There are...

, this prevents a vote on this act or its amendments without disclosure of the Senator requesting it. On August 17, 2006, Coburn identified Stevens as "the only senator blocking [the Bill]" at a Town hall meeting
Town hall meeting
A town hall meeting is an American English term given to an informal public meeting. Everybody in a town community is invited to attend, not always to voice their opinions, but to hear the responses from public figures and elected officials about shared subjects of interest. Attendees rarely voted...

 in Oklahoma
Oklahoma
Oklahoma is a state located in the South Central region of the United States of America. With an estimated 3,751,351 residents as of the 2010 census and a land area of 68,667 square miles , Oklahoma is the 28th most populous and 20th-largest state...

, but this did not become widely known for nearly two weeks.

Prompted by political blogs, various individuals contacted their Senators to determine if they placed the "secret hold" on S. 2590. The effort was an unusual example of bipartisan collaboration on the internet with the right-leaning blogs Porkbusters
Porkbusters
Porkbusters is an effort led by mostly conservative and libertarian bloggers to cut pork barrel spending by the U.S. Congress used to help pay for projects....

 and GOPProgress actively working with left-leaning TPMmuckraker. On August 30, 2006, after he had been identified as the only suspect by Porkbusters
Porkbusters
Porkbusters is an effort led by mostly conservative and libertarian bloggers to cut pork barrel spending by the U.S. Congress used to help pay for projects....

 and one of two suspects by TPMmuckraker, a spokesman for Stevens confirmed that he placed a hold. The following day, Senator Byrd (TPMmuckraker's other suspect) also admitted to placing a hold stating that he had wanted to have more time to look at the legislation; he had lifted the hold by the time of the announcement. Stevens subsequently lifted his hold.

Presidential action


President George W. Bush
George W. Bush
George Walker Bush is an American politician who served as the 43rd President of the United States, from 2001 to 2009. Before that, he was the 46th Governor of Texas, having served from 1995 to 2000....

 signed the bill into law on September 26, 2006. In attendance at the signing were Sen. Susan Collins
Susan Collins
Susan Margaret Collins is the junior United States Senator from Maine and a member of the Republican Party. First elected to the Senate in 1996, she is the ranking member of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs...

, R-ME
Maine
Maine is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States, bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the east and south, New Hampshire to the west, and the Canadian provinces of Quebec to the northwest and New Brunswick to the northeast. Maine is both the northernmost and easternmost...

, Chairwoman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, House Majority Whip Roy Blunt
Roy Blunt
Roy D. Blunt is the junior United States Senator from Missouri. He is a member of the Republican Party. His Senate seat was previously held by Republican Kit Bond, until his retirement....

 R-MO
Missouri
Missouri is a US state located in the Midwestern United States, bordered by Iowa, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Nebraska. With a 2010 population of 5,988,927, Missouri is the 18th most populous state in the nation and the fifth most populous in the Midwest. It...

-7, Sen. Barack Obama, D-IL.
Illinois
Illinois is the fifth-most populous state of the United States of America, and is often noted for being a microcosm of the entire country. With Chicago in the northeast, small industrial cities and great agricultural productivity in central and northern Illinois, and natural resources like coal,...

, Sen. Tom Carper, D-DE
Delaware
Delaware is a U.S. state located on the Atlantic Coast in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States. It is bordered to the south and west by Maryland, and to the north by Pennsylvania...

., Rep. Jeb Hensarling
Jeb Hensarling
Jeb Hensarling has been the Republican congressman representing Texas' 5th congressional district in the United States House of Representatives since 2003.-Early life:...

 R-TX
Texas
Texas is the second largest U.S. state by both area and population, and the largest state by area in the contiguous United States.The name, based on the Caddo word "Tejas" meaning "friends" or "allies", was applied by the Spanish to the Caddo themselves and to the region of their settlement in...

-5., and Rep. Henry Waxman
Henry Waxman
Henry Arnold Waxman is the U.S. Representative for , serving in Congress since 1975. He is a member of the Democratic Party. He is considered to be one of the most influential liberal members of Congress...

 D-CA
California
California is a state located on the West Coast of the United States. It is by far the most populous U.S. state, and the third-largest by land area...

-30.

Sister bill in the House


H.R. 5060, an amendment to the Federal Financial Assistance Management Improvement Act of 1999, was passed by the House of Representatives
United States House of Representatives
The United States House of Representatives is one of the two Houses of the United States Congress, the bicameral legislature which also includes the Senate.The composition and powers of the House are established in Article One of the Constitution...

 on June 21, 2006 and sent to the Senate. H.R. 5060 can be considered a sister bill to S. 2590, but it is weaker than S. 2590 because it only considers federal grants. This bill died when S. 2590 was passed by the House and S.Con.Res. 114 was passed by the House and Senate because S. 2590 considers a superset of the actions of H.R. 5060.

Implementation


The legislation delegated responsibility for creating the website to the Office of Management and Budget. Around the time of the Act's passage, OMB Watch
OMB Watch
OMB Watch is a 501 nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C. OMB Watch was formed by Gary Bass in 1983 to lift the veil of secrecy shrouding the White House Office of Management and Budget...

, a government watchdog group, was developing a site that would do essentially everything the legislation required.
Gary Bass
Gary Bass
Gary D. Bass is the founder and Executive Director of OMB Watch.Bass received a combined doctorate in psychology and education from the University of Michigan. He was president of the Human Services Information Center before founding OMB Watch in 1983...

, director of OMB Watch
OMB Watch
OMB Watch is a 501 nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C. OMB Watch was formed by Gary Bass in 1983 to lift the veil of secrecy shrouding the White House Office of Management and Budget...

, contacted Robert Shea
Robert Shea
Robert Joseph Shea was an American novelist and former journalist best known as co-author with Robert Anton Wilson of the science fantasy trilogy Illuminatus!. It became a cult success and was later turned into a marathon-length stage show put on at the British National Theatre and elsewhere. In...

, associate director of the OMB, offering to help with development of the new site. Shea was initially reluctant to collaborate with Bass, in part because OMB Watch
OMB Watch
OMB Watch is a 501 nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C. OMB Watch was formed by Gary Bass in 1983 to lift the veil of secrecy shrouding the White House Office of Management and Budget...

 is typically critical of the OMB, but eventually it was determined that the government site would be based on what OMB Watch was developing, with the group being paid $600,000 for their technology. As of early 2008, the government's site, USASpending.gov, offers the same data, API, and (for the most part) documentation as the OMB Watch site, fedspending.org.

It has been reported that the 2011 United States federal budget
2011 United States federal budget
The 2011 United States federal budget is the United States federal budget to fund government operations for the fiscal year 2011, which is October 2010–September 2011. The budget is the subject of a spending request by President Barack Obama...

 holds a substantial reduction in funding for the Electronic Government Fund, from which USASpending.gov draws its funding.

External links