CBO: Web database to cost $15M

Cost estimates on a proposed Web database that lists who gets federal funds would stretch to $15 million from fiscal 2007 to 2011, according to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO).

The legislation would require the Office of Management and Budget to oversee the creation of the searchable database that would include detailed information on all federal grants, contracts and other funding awarded to public and private organizations. The government currently collects the information required by the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act.

The initial cost of establishing the site would be $4 million, the CBO said. The estimate was released Aug. 9. In the cost estimate document, the outlays would reach as much as $5 million in fiscal 2008 and would level out at $2 million for subsequent fiscal years.

CBO’s estimate assumes the legislation would be enacted at the start of fiscal 2007, and the necessary funds would be provided for each year.

The bill has won praise from several senators.

“Transparency is a prerequisite to oversight and financial control,” Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) said. He testified July 18 at the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee’s Federal Financial Management, Government Information and International Security Subcommittee hearing.

Citizens’ ability to know how the government spends their tax money is a basic principle of self-government, Obama said.

“People are beginning to realize that the only way to control spending and ensure accountability is to let the American people see exactly how their money is being spent,” said Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) at the hearing.

The committee passed the bill Aug. 2, but the Senate has not acted on it.

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