House passes database spending bill

The House late Wednesday passed legislation creating a searchable database that will track all kinds of federal spending, moving the bill to the president’s desk for his expected signature.

The bill, S 2590, requires the Office of Management and Budget to develop a public, searchable database with information on federal contracts, subcontracts, grants, subgrants, loans and other financial assistance.

Under the legislation, OMB must develop the site by Jan. 1, 2008.

The Senate passed the legislation, sponsored by Sens. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Barack Obama (D-Ill.), late last week, after a number of senators withdrew their opposition and let the chamber vote on the bill.

"This bill will make tracking government spending easier for citizens, reporters and legislators alike. Improving transparency will force lawmakers to be more accountable to the American people," Coburn and Obama said.

From there, the language moved to the House, which earlier this year approved a similar bill that would establish a database for federal grant awards. Co-sponsors of the House bill, majority leader Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) and Government Reform Committee chairman Tom Davis (R-Va.), met over the past few days with Coburn and others and agreed to amend the House version with the Coburn language.

“It will provide transparency and accountability to the grant making process and allow for continued improvement of transparency in federal contract awards," said Davis.

OMB supports the bill and agency director Rob Portman applauded the House action.

“The American taxpayers deserve to know how their money is being used and they are right to expect that it be used responsibly to achieve results,” he said. “This legislation will help cast the bright light of public scrutiny on federal grants and contracts and will help reduce wasteful and ineffective spending.”

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