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House OKs DATA Act; Senate up next

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Score one for transparency.

The U.S. House of Representatives has unanimously passed the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act, or DATA Act, an important piece of legislation that would bring greater transparency and efficiency to federal spending data.

Specifically, the act would standardize the ways in which federal spending information is reported and create an accurate and searchable online database that would let all Americans see how their government is spending their money.

"We think this is critical legislation at a critical time that will allow stronger transparency and accountability, and can play a vital role in restoring the public trust in government," said MACPA Executive Director Tom Hood.

The MACPA is one of the founding members of the Data Transparency Coalition, the only group that is unifying the technology and non-profit industries in support of federal data reform. That's no surprise, really. The MACPA has long been a supporter of XBRL and other efforts to standarize data. Additional support from federal lawmakers reinforces our believe that this is the right thing to do.

“The DATA Act will help government agencies and private clients make better decisions while creating high-tech jobs for technology companies that invent new ways to visualize and analyze spending data," said Hudson Hollister, executive director of the of the Data Transparency Coalition. "Citizens will be able to scrutinize federal expenditures, both internal and external, and inspectors general will be able to use analytics to quickly and efficiently identify fraudulent or wasteful behavior.”

But hey, don't take our word for it. In a statement from the floor of the House, Rep. Elijah Cummings, a Democrat from Maryland and a ranking member of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, offers his views on why the DATA Act is important.

"Taxpayers deserve to know how their money is being spent," Cummings said. "Congress has a responsibility to assure that those hard-earned tax dollars are spent effectively and efficiently."

Listen to Cummings' statement in its entirety:

Here are more details about the legislation from Rep. Darrell Issa, chair of the House Oversight and Reform Committee:

If that's not enough, check out this terrific summary of the DATA Act from the Data Transparency Coalition. If you want to know why the MACPA supports this legislation, look no further:

The DATA Act now moves on to the Senate, where it's expected to encounter a bit more resistance. Stay tuned, then check out these related resources:

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