H.R. 5775 (111th): Grant Accessibility and Transparency Enhancement Act of 2010

111th Congress, 2009–2010. Text as of Jul 19, 2010 (Introduced).

Status & Summary | PDF | Source: GPO

I

111th CONGRESS

2d Session

H. R. 5775

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

July 19, 2010

introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, and in addition to the Committees on the Budget and Rules, for a period to be subsequently determined by the Speaker, in each case for consideration of such provisions as fall within the jurisdiction of the committee concerned

A BILL

To require the establishment of a commission on earmark reform, to consolidate and streamline the grants management structure of the Federal Government, and for other purposes.

1.

Short title

This Act may be cited as the Grant Accessibility and Transparency Enhancement Act of 2010.

2.

National Commission on Earmark Reform

(a)

Establishment

The President shall establish a commission to be known as the National Commission on Earmark Reform (in this section referred to as the Commission.

(b)

Duties of Commission

The duties of the Commission are—

(1)

to study the laws and practices related to replacing earmarks with a full grant-making process; and

(2)

to develop a proposed plan that includes objectives, priorities, policies, and long-term plans to transition from congressional member-directed earmarks to a grant-making process.

(c)

Membership

The Commission shall be composed of—

(1)

the Director of the Office of Management and Budget, who shall be the chairman of the Commission; and

(2)

such other members as the President may appoint, after consultation with the majority and minority leadership of the Senate and the House of Representatives.

(d)

Expert grant award panels

In carrying out its duties, the Commission shall propose legislative or regulatory changes to implement a grant-making application and review process modeled after the Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, under which a panel of subject area experts (including representatives of the Federal agency with appropriate jurisdiction) receives, reviews, and awards grant funding on a merit-based system. At a minimum, the Commission shall propose changes that establish rules for—

(1)

the review and reporting of grant applications and awards;

(2)

hardship exemptions from specific reporting or application requirements; and

(3)

recommended changes in law to support the implementation of expert grant award panels.

(e)

Consolidation and streamlining of grants management structure

In carrying out its duties, the Commission shall propose legislative or regulatory changes to implement a specific governance structure for all grant functions, including grants management, within the Federal Government. At a minimum, the Commission shall propose changes for ensuring that the activities at Grants.gov and the policy recommendations of the Grants Policy Committee (of the Chief Financial Officers Council) are connected, by proposing the establishment of an Office of Grant Making within the Office of Management and Budget to cover all grants activity of the Federal Government, including the management of Grants.gov. The Commission shall include, at a minimum, in its recommendations regarding the Office of Grant Making, the following:

(1)

The Office should have an advisory committee that includes representation from elected local, State, Federal and tribal governments, institutions of higher education, vendors, and non-profits.

(2)

The meetings of the advisory committee should be conducted in an open and transparent way.

(3)

The Office should review all grant programs, including the implementation of the expert grant award panels, and ensure the consistency of audits of grant programs.

(f)

Involvement of stakeholders

In carrying out its duties, the Commission shall propose legislative or regulatory changes to involve non-Federal participants in the grant-making process, including involvement through—

(1)

consultation with representatives of elected local, State, and tribal governments, institutions of higher education, vendors, non-profits, and other non-Federal participants as early as possible to get their input on any effort by the Federal Government to change or improve proposed grant products, including new forms and formats, and or to change or improve the tracking and reporting of Federal fund data; and

(2)

participation and collaboration in the development of a training and certification program for grants management professionals.

(g)

Operations of Commission

In carrying out its duties, the Commission shall—

(1)

operate a publicly accessible Web site and make available information about the Commission, including its membership and the report required under subsection (h);

(2)

hold 8 public hearings before publication of the report required under subsection (h); and

(3)

provide for a period of 45 days immediately before publication of the report required under subsection (h) for submission of comments and recommendations from private and public groups and individuals.

(h)

Report

Not later than 180 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Commission shall—

(1)

submit to Congress a report containing the plan developed under subsection (b) and its findings and recommendations; and

(2)

publish the report on the Commission’s publicly accessible Web site.

(i)

Appropriations

There is authorized to be appropriated $1,000,000 for the Commission to carry out this section.

3.

Office of Grant Making

(a)

Establishment

Not later than 30 days after the publication of the Commission report under section 2(h), the Director of the Office of Management and Budget shall establish an office within the Office of Management and Budget to be known as the Office of Grant Making (in this section referred to as the Office).

(b)

Director

The Office shall be overseen by a Director, who shall be designated from among Federal officers and employees by the Director of the Office of Management and Budget.

(c)

Functions

(1)

In general

The Office and Director shall—

(A)

in consultation with agency heads, representatives of local, State and Federal Government, and other non-Federal entities, direct and coordinate the development of the expert grant award panels (referred to in section 2) and the specific recommendations of the National Commission on Earmark Reform; and

(B)

be responsible for maintaining Grants.gov, in accordance with section 5.

(2)

Additional responsibilities

The Director shall also support Federal agencies in establishing—

(A)

a common grant application and reporting system; and

(B)

an interagency process for addressing the following:

(i)

Ways to streamline and simplify Federal grant administrative procedures and reporting requirements for non-Federal entities.

(ii)

Improved interagency and intergovernmental coordination of information collection and sharing of data pertaining to Federal grants.

(iii)

Improvements in the timeliness, completeness, and quality of information received by Federal agencies from recipients of Federal grants.

(d)

Authorization of appropriations

There is authorized to be appropriated $30,000,000 for fiscal years 2011 through 2013 for purposes of establishing and operating the Office.

4.

Streamlining of role of Federal agencies in grant making process

(a)

Requirement for plan

Not later than 180 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, each Federal agency shall develop and implement a plan that—

(1)

streamlines and simplifies the application, administrative, and reporting procedures for Federal grants administered by the agency;

(2)

demonstrates a process to actively participate in the expert grants awards panels referred to in section 2;

(3)

demonstrates appropriate agency use, or plans for use, of a common grant application and reporting system;

(4)

designates a lead agency official for carrying out the responsibilities of the agency under this Act;

(5)

allows grant applicants to electronically apply for, and report on the use of funds from, the Federal grants administered by the agency;

(6)

ensures recipients of Federal grants provide timely, complete, and high-quality information in response to Federal reporting requirements; and

(7)

in cooperation with recipients of Federal grants, establishes specific annual goals and objectives to further the purposes of this Act and measures annual performance in achieving those goals and objectives.

(b)

Extension

If a Federal agency is unable to comply with subsection (a), the Director of the Office of Management and Budget may extend for up to 30 days the period for the agency to develop and implement a plan.

(c)

Comment and consultation on agency plans

(1)

Comment

Each agency shall publish the plan developed under this section in the Federal Register and receive public comment on the plan through the Federal Register and other means (including electronic means). To the maximum extent practicable, each Federal agency shall hold public forums on the plan.

(2)

Consultation

The lead official designated by each Agency shall consult with representatives of State, local, and tribal governments, and other non-Federal entities, during development and implementation of the plan.

(d)

Submission of Plan

Each Federal agency shall submit the plan developed under this section to the Director of the Office of Grant Making and Congress and report annually thereafter on the implementation of the plan and performance of the agency in meeting the requirements for the plan specified in subsection (a).

5.

Expansion of the use and functionality of Grants.gov

(a)

Transfer to Office of Grant Making

The Director of the Office of Grant Making shall be responsible for maintaining Grants.gov.

(b)

Requirement To post all grants

All Federal grants, both formula and discretionary, from all grant-making agencies shall be posted on Grants.gov.

(c)

Duplicative hard copy applications not required

Grant applications in hard copy that are duplicative of applications submitted electronically shall not be required from grant applicants.

(d)

Expansion of functionality

The Director of the Office of Grant Making shall ensure that Grants.gov is able to handle the following functions:

(1)

Finding grants.

(2)

Applying for grants.

(3)

Submitting and receiving grant applications.

(4)

Sending grant award notifications and other documents.

(5)

Submitting and receiving post-grant-award management reports.

(6)

Closeout tools related to grants.

(7)

Grant award tracking.

(8)

Training and technical assistance, as described in subsection (f).

(e)

Avoidance of duplication with USASpending.gov

The Director of the Office of Grant Making shall ensure that duplication of effort and dual systems related to online Federal grant activity are no longer in effect by merging USASpending.gov into Grants.gov. Other Federal agencies shall cooperate to the extent necessary to assist the Director in carrying out this subsection.

(f)

Training and other technical assistance

The Director shall ensure that Grants.gov includes technical assistance information and resources, including—

(1)

online or recorded training sessions conducted by other Federal agencies;

(2)

online or recorded training sessions on how to use Grants.gov; and

(3)

such other technical assistance as the Director considers appropriate.

6.

Ending congressional earmarks, limited tax benefits, and limited tariff benefits

(a)

In general

Section 312 of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974 is amended by adding at the end the following new subsection:

(g)

Prohibition on congressional earmarks, limited tax benefits, and limited tariff benefits

(1)

It shall not be in order in the House of Representatives or the Senate to consider any bill or joint resolution, or amendment thereto or conference report thereon, if it or any accompanying report contains any congressional earmark, limited tax benefit, or limited tariff benefit.

(2)

As used in this subsection, the terms congressional earmark, limited tax benefit, and limited tariff benefit have the meanings given to such terms in clause 9 of rule XXI of the Rules of the House of Representatives.

.

(b)

Super majority in the Senate

Subsections (c)(1) and (d)(2) of section 904 of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974 are each amended by inserting 312(g), after 310(d)(2),.

(c)

Effective date

The amendments made by subsections (a) and (b) shall take effect 1 year after the date of the enactment of this Act.