Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006
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, Carper and McCain, there were 43 other Senators who co-sponsored this bill: Lamar Alexander, George Allen, Max Baucus, Evan Bayh, Jeff Bingaman, Barbara Boxer, Sam Brownback, Richard Burr, Maria Cantwell, Saxby Chambliss, Hillary Clinton, Norm Coleman, Susan Collins, John Cornyn, Larry Craig, Jim DeMint, Mike DeWine, Chris Dodd, Elizabeth Dole, Dick Durbin, Mike Enzi, Russ Feingold, Bill Frist, Chuck Grassley, Chuck Hagel, Johnny Isakson, John Kerry, Jon Kyl, Mary Landrieu, Joe Lieberman, Mitch McConnell, Bob Menendez, Bill Nelson, Harry Reid, Ken Salazar, Rick Santorum, Jeff Sessions, Olympia Snowe, John Sununu, Jim Talent, Craig Thomas, John Thune, David Vitter and George Voinovich.
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 Bill Frist 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 unanimously in the Senate.
S. 2590 introduced in the House on September 8, 2006. It was agreed upon and passed on five days later and S.Con.Res. 114 was agreed to and passed by both the House and the Senate on the same day.
Some time after August 2, 2006, Senators Ted Stevens, a Republican, and Robert Byrd, a Democrat, placed "secret holds" on S. 2590, which under Senate Rules prevents a vote on this act or its amendments. On August 17, 2006, Coburn identified Stevens as "the only senator blocking [the Bill]" at a Town hall meeting in Oklahoma, 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 and GOPProgress actively working with left-leaning TPMmuckraker. On August 30, 2006, after he had been identified as the only suspect by Porkbusters 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.
President George W. Bush signed the bill into law on September 26, 2006. In attendance at the signing were Sen. Susan Collins, R-ME, Chairwoman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, House Majority Whip Roy Blunt R-MO-7, Sen. Barack Obama, D-IL., Sen. Tom Carper, D-DE., Rep. Jeb Hensarling R-TX-5., and Rep. Henry Waxman D-CA-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 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.
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, a government watchdog group, was developing a site that would do essentially everything the legislation required. Gary Bass, director of OMB Watch, contacted Robert Shea, 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 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.
Strengthening of the transparency bill in 2008
The sponsors of the first bill Tom Coburn and Senators Barack Obama, Tom Carper and John McCain are sponsoring another bill in 2008 that will strengthen the USAspending.com website by enacting the following:
- Improving application programming interface and website data elements.
- Improving data quality.
- Recipient performance transparency.
- USASpending.gov official government spending database
- THOMAS – all versions of Bill Number S.2590
- THOMAS – Senate Bill 2590 bill with text, sponsors and CBO cost estimates
- Text of Public Law 109-282, the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006
- WashingtonWatch.com – P.L. 109-282, The Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006 information on the bill, including estimated cost per person
- The Scoop on "Secret Holds": No Rules Apply by Justin Rood, TPMuckraker, August 29, 2006
- "The Google-Like Pork Thing on the Internets" October 2006
- "Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006 (S. 2590) Summary". THOMAS.gov. http://www.congress.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d109:S.2590:. Retrieved on August 29.
- "Congressional Record Senate April 6 2006 S3239". http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/getpage.cgi?dbname=2006_record&page=S3239&position=all:.
- President Bush Signs Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act The White House, September 26, 2006
- "Sen. Stevens is 'the secret senator'". CNN. http://www.cnn.com/2006/POLITICS/08/30/secret.senators/. Retrieved on August 30.
- Rebecca Carr. "Byrd Admits He Placed A Hold, Now Lifts It". Palm Beach Post. http://www.palmbeachpost.com/blogs/content/shared-blogs/washington/washington/entries/2006/08/31/byrd_admits_he.html. Retrieved on August 31.
- "Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate S.2590 (August 9, 2006)". Congressional Budget Office. http://www.cbo.gov/showdoc.cfm?index=7483&sequence=0. Retrieved on September 1.
- "Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006 (S. 2590) Text". GPO. http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/getdoc.cgi?dbname=109_cong_bills&docid=f:s2590rs.txt.pdf. Retrieved on August 29.
- "All Congressional Action on S. 2590". THOMAS.gov. http://www.congress.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d109:SN02590:@@@X. Retrieved on August 29.
- Bill Frist, M.D.. "Now is the Time to Act on S. 2590". Volunteer Political Action Committee (VOLPAC). http://www.volpac.org/index.cfm?FuseAction=Blogs.View&Blog_id=438. Retrieved on September 1.
- Bill Frist, M.D.. "A Triumph for Transparency in Government". Volunteer Political Action Committee (VOLPAC). http://volpac.org/index.cfm?FuseAction=Blogs.View&Blog_id=451. Retrieved on September 7.
- "Senate Concurrent Resolution 114 Summary". THOMAS.gov. http://www.congress.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d109:SC00114:@@@X. Retrieved on September 14.
- Dug Begley. "Coburn Critical Of Colleagues". Times Record of Fort Smith, Arkansas. http://www.swtimes.com/articles/2006/08/18/week_in_review/news/friday/news04.txt. Retrieved on August 30.
- "TPMmuckraker's "Secret Hold" Tally". TPMmuckraker.com. http://tpmmuckraker.com/secret_hold.php. Retrieved on August 29.
- Paul Kiel. "Blogosphere Unites in Pursuit of Masked Senator". TPMmuckraker.com. http://www.tpmmuckraker.com/archives/001428.php. Retrieved on August 29.
- "Who is the Secret Holder?". porkbusters.org. http://www.porkbusters.org/secrethold.php. Retrieved on August 29.
- Liz Mair. "We need S. 2590. So won't the secret holder please stand up?". GOPProgress. http://www.gopprogress.com/story/2006/8/25/9753/25337. Retrieved on September 7.
- "Bush signs transparency bill". TimChapmanBlog. http://timchapmanblog.com/2006/09/26/bush-signs-transparency-bill/. Retrieved on September 26.
- "Amendment to the Federal Financial Assistance Management Improvement Act of 1999 Summary". THOMAS.gov. http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d109:H.R.5060:. Retrieved on August 29.
- Elizabeth Williamson (December 13, 2007). "OMB Offers an Easy Way to Follow the Money". The Washington Post. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/12/12/AR2007121202701.html?nav=rss_politics/fedpage. Retrieved on 2008-01-21.
- 2008 Strengthening Bill Language