Coburn questions OMB's delays on data

The Office of Management and Budget has let a pilot program slide that would require agencies to post their subcontracting data online and a senator is asking why.

In a March 18 letter to OMB Director Peter Orszag, Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), who sponsored the legislation in 2006 with then-Sen. Barack Obama that created USASpending.gov, wrote that OMB officials need to launch the pilot program that would gather the information on subcontracts.

The Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act, enacted in 2006, calls for a reporting system that requires entities receiving government money and issuing subgrants or subcontracts to report that information. The law requires the data to be made available on the Web site by Jan. 1, 2009, although it allows for an extension under certain circumstances.

USASpending.gov says the subcontract and subgrant pages are under development.

In the letter, Coburn asked Orszag why OMB missed the Jan. 1 deadline, when the pilot program will be operational and what obstacles OMB faces.

Coburn also wrote that several agencies, including the Treasury Department, consistently fail to fully report their contracting data and wants to know how the administration plans to get them to comply.

OMB’s pilot program to test how the government collects subcontracting data expired. Dec. 31, 2008. That was the pilot program’s last day under the Federal Acquisition Regulation and the transparency legislation. Agencies may technically no longer be required submit their subcontracting data to OMB.


About the Author

Matthew Weigelt is a freelance journalist who writes about acquisition and procurement.

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