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H.R. 4887 (115th): Grant Reporting Efficiency and Agreements Transparency Act of 2018

Should the government create a single website where all spending information on grants can be located?

Context

More than $700 billion in grants and cooperative agreements were awarded by the federal government last fiscal year. Yet there is no single repository for the data, showing where all the taxpayers’ money went and how much.

What the bill does

The Grant Reporting Efficiency and Agreements Transparency (GREAT) Actwould create the federal government’s first centralized database for information on grant money.

It was introduced in the Senate on September 24 as bill number S. 3484 by Sen. James Lankford (R-OK), and in the House on January 29 as bill number H.R. 4887 by Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC5).

What supporters say

Supporters argue the bill would increase transparency and improve the public’s understanding of where their money is going and for what purposes.

“Congress should have usable and auditable data from grant recipients in an easy and straightforward format,” Sen. Lankford said in a press release. “When an agency spends the money of hardworking taxpayers, everyone should know how and where their money was spent. Increased demand for federal oversight does not have to mean burdensome requirements on grant recipients.”

“The GREAT Act requires federal data transparency to make the grant process more efficient and effective,” Lankford continued. “The GREAT Act streamlines data transparency requirements for grant recipients, which will ultimately make data collection and dissemination to Congress easier and faster.”

GovTrack Insider was unable to locate any statements of opposition. In the House vote (see below) no opposition was recorded, and there was also none included in the official committee report which usually includes dissenting views when available.

Odds of passage

The House version passed the House on September 26 by a voice vote, meaning no record of opposition was recorded.

That same day, the Senate version was approved by the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, although it has yet to receive a vote in the full Senate.

With no recorded opposition, full Senate passage seems reasonably likely.

Last updated Nov 21, 2018. View all GovTrack summaries.

The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress, and was published on Jan 29, 2018.


Grant Reporting Efficiency and Agreements Transparency Act of 2018 or the GREAT Act

This bill requires the Office of Management and Budget, jointly with the executive department that issues the most federal grant awards, to: (1) establish government-wide data standards for information reported by grant recipients, (2) issue guidance directing federal agencies to apply those standards, and (3) require the publication of recipient-reported data collected from all agencies on a single public website.