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Federal News Radio – White House calls for major changes to DATA Act

“The White House wants major revisions to the Senate’s version of the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act of 2014. Among the biggest changes is the decision to move away from standards and toward open data structures to publish information, according to a marked up version of the DATA Act obtained by Federal News Radio. OMB gave the bill to agencies Friday midday to comment on with a deadline of 5 p.m. that day. OMB’s Barbara Menard, the assistant director for legislative reference, wrote in a memo to other legislative affairs officers that they should share the marked up bill with their agency’s CFO, chief information officer, budget, procurement and grant/financial assistance components.

“We specifically would like to know your sense of the effort required to meet the amended requirements in the longer timeframes culling obligations by object class by fund symbol from your financial systems, and culling obligations by program by fund symbol assuming program corresponds to an allotment or sub-allotment of agency choosing in consultation with RMOs,” Menard wrote. “Your views on the pilot program and specifically that it will touch the grants and financial assistance, procurement, and financial reporting communities; and your views on the debt collection provisions at the end of the bill.”

The original bill, sponsored by Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), called for the Treasury Department, the Office of Management and Budget, the General Services Administration and the Office of Personnel Management to establish governmentwide financial data standards for all federal funds and include common data elements for financial payment information. The legislation also called for the standards to be maintained by a voluntary consensus standards body, federal agencies with the authority over contracting and financial assistance and accounting standards organizations.”

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