December 15, 2016
Data Coalition News
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The latest:
  • Senate Unanimously Passes Broad Open Data Mandate, OPEN Government Data Act
  • DATA Act Leadership Optimistic about May 2017 Reporting Deadline Amidst Administrative Transition
  • New Op-ed by Hudson: "To Fix Federal Procurement, Dump the DUNS Number"

Senate Unanimously Passes Broad Open Data Mandate, OPEN Government Data Act; Now the 115th Congress Must Take Action

Last Saturday, December 10, the Senate approved by unanimous consent the Open, Public, Electronic and Necessary (OPEN) Government Data Act (S.2852), sending a strong signal to the incoming 115th Congress that the bill can quickly be passed by both chambers upon re-introduction in January 2017. The OPEN Government Data Act would require all federal agencies to publish their information online, using nonproprietary, machine-readable data formats.

The Senate’s action last week helps further the goal of making open data the default for federal information. “For open data to truly take hold, Congress needs to institutionalize the existing executive policy on its own terms and take ownership of a government-wide transformation,” said Hudson Hollister, Executive Director of the Data Coalition.

Earlier this month the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) scored S.2852 and concluded there would be no significant budgetary impact (see the CBO statement here).

In summary, the OPEN Government Data Act would:

  • Push federal agencies to take the next step in publishing their data sets in a truly accessible manner in open formats and as machine-readable data (see Sec. 5, Requirement for making Open and Machine Readable the Default for Government Data);
  • Help map all the federal data sets (see Section 7, Data Inventory and Planning and Section 8. Technology Portal);
  • Empower agency Chief Information Officers to improve the quality of the data they are publishing (see Section 9, Enhanced Responsibility for Chief Information Officers and Chief Information Officers Council Duties); and
  • Write meaningful open data definitions into US law to enable smarter legislation in the future (see Section 4, Federal Information and Policy Definitions).

For more information on the legislation you can see the Data Coalition’s summary page here.

Our Coalition and the emerging open data industry thank Senators Brian Schatz (D-HI) and Ben Sasse (R-NE), the bill's sponsors, for their leadership.

Read the Coalition's full press release here

DATA Act Leadership Optimistic about May 2017 Reporting Deadline Amidst Administrative Transition

The House Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on Government Operations held a hearing on Thursday, December 8, to explore the status of implementing the 2014 Digital Accountability and Transparency Act (DATA Act) (PL 113-101). The hearing, titled “DATA Act Implementation Check-in,” was the second this year in which the subcommittee called upon the leadership of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and the Treasury Department’s Fiscal Service to explain how federal agencies are progressing to comply with the DATA Act’s May 2017 deadline to report their spending information as open data.

Subcommittee Chairman Mark Meadows (NC-11) opened the hearing stating that while agencies are ultimately responsible for their own data reporting, his committee is dedicated to conducting oversight and exploring what needs to be tweaked to assure success. The Chairman recognized the Data Coalition’s efforts to bring these issues to the Subcommittee’s attention.

OMB Controller Dave Mader defended his office’s decision to primarily focus on the 24 CFO Act agencies, which account for more than 90% of federal funding. Mader did say that OMB has records of 83 federal agencies which have self-determined they are legally obligated to report under the law. In April’s hearing, the Committee requested that OMB provide a comprehensive list of covered agencies. The Government Accountability Office’s (GAO) July report on agency readiness was critical of OMB’s failure to explicitly identify those agencies covered by the law.

Read the Coalition's full press release here

New Op-ed by Hudson: "To Fix Federal Procurement, Dump the DUNS Number"

Hudson Hollister, executive director of the Data Coalition published this op-ed in The Hill last week: 

Federal procurement is broken, at taxpayers’ expense.

Complex rules and lengthy processes discourage innovators, favor incumbents, and block competition. Companies that should be disbarred for poor performance still get federal contracts.

Congress, the Government Accountability Office, countless think tanks, and the contractors themselves all agree: too often, our government hires well-connected companies instead of worthy ones, and pays too much.
Fortunately, we already know that open data could help fix federal procurement.
By standardizing all information on contract spending, and publishing that information as a single, searchable open data set, the federal government could empower data analytics to reveal fraudsters.
We’ve already done that once. From 2009 to 2014, the government published stimulus procurement spending as a standardized, searchable open data set; inspectors general used that data to launch investigations; and contract fraud was much lower within the stimulus than across all spending. The power of open data goes beyond simply stopping fraud.

Imagine if you could instantly cross-reference every company’s contracting record with its reports to the EPA, the SEC, and the courts. Surely that could help the government figure out which contractors don’t follow laws, which ones are on shaky financial ground, and which ones are being sued the most. Today such analysis requires expensive data matching. With a standardized identification code matching a companies across different government reports, it would be cheap - and ubiquitous.

But one outdated technology still stands in the way of transparency: the DUNS Number.

Continue reading Hudson's op-ed here

XBRL US: How to Cut $Billions out of Government Spending

Earlier this week, XBRL US announced a new section on their site called “Point of View.” The new section will feature content from leaders and experts in the XBRL community and highlight how XBRL can be adopted to modernize financial regulatory reporting. 

The following is an excerpt from XBRL US's most recent blog post, titled "How to cut $billions out of government spending":

"The Australian government and business saves $1.1 billion every year thanks to a program introduced seven years ago that brought financial data standards into the business to government reporting process. Translated to the American economy, which has a GDP 10 times the size of Australia, the adoption of the right format, information and identifiers – a financial data standard – has the potential to create $11 billion in savings across the US economyThis infographic outlines the problems in U.S. regulatory reporting today."

Continue reading the blog post here
Fears rise of Trump-era 'memory hole' in federal data
Senate backs open gov bill
Implementation deadline ‘just the beginning’ for DATA Act

Data Coalition Members

Research Data Group
Donnelley Financial Solutions

Booz Allen Hamilton
MorganFranklin Consulting
StreamLink Software

BackOffice Associates
Center for Organizational Excellence
CGI Federal
Elder Research
Global IDs
Grant Thornton
Information Builders
Merrill Corporation
PR Newswire

BCL Technologies
Gov-PATH Solutions
Vintun LLC
Zenius Corporation

Trade Association
Object Management Group 


About Us

The Data Coalition advocates on behalf of the private sector and the public interest for the publication of government information as standardized, open data.
Copyright © 2016 Data Coalition, All rights reserved.

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