Congressional Record: September 13, 2006 (House)
Page H6498-H6501                   


  Mr. TOM DAVIS of Virginia. Mr. Speaker, I move to suspend the rules 
and pass the Senate bill (S. 2590) to require full disclosure of all 
entities and organizations receiving Federal funds.
  The Clerk read as follows:

                                S. 2590

       Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of 
     the United States of America in Congress assembled,


       This Act may be cited as the ``Federal Funding 
     Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006''.


       (a) Definitions.--In this section:
       (1) Entity.--The term ``entity''--
       (A) includes, whether for profit or nonprofit--
       (i) a corporation;
       (ii) an association;
       (iii) a partnership;
       (iv) a limited liability company;
       (v) a limited liability partnership;
       (vi) a sole proprietorship;
       (vii) any other legal business entity;
       (viii) any other grantee or contractor that is not excluded 
     by subparagraph (B) or (C); and
       (ix) any State or locality;
       (B) on and after January 1, 2009, includes any 
     subcontractor or subgrantee; and
       (C) does not include--
       (i) an individual recipient of Federal assistance; or
       (ii) a Federal employee.
       (2) Federal award.--The term ``Federal award''--
       (A) means Federal financial assistance and expenditures 
     that include grants, contracts, subgrants, subcontracts, 
     loans, awards, cooperative agreements, purchase orders, task 
     orders, delivery orders, and other forms of financial 
       (B) does not include individual transactions below $25,000; 
       (C) before October 1, 2008, does not include credit card 
       (3) Searchable website.--The term ``searchable website'' 
     means a website that allows the public to--
       (A) search Federal funding by any element required by 
     subsection (b)(1);
       (B) ascertain through a single search the total amount of 
     Federal funding awarded to an entity, by fiscal year; and
       (C) download data included in subparagraph (A) included in 
     the outcome from searches.
       (b) In General.--
       (1) Website.--Not later than January 1, 2008, the Office of 
     Management and Budget shall, in accordance with this section 
     and section 204 of the E-Government Act of 2002 (Public Law 
     107-347; 44 U.S.C. 3501 note), ensure the existence and 
     operation of a single searchable website, accessible by the 
     public at no cost to access, that includes for each Federal 
       (A) the name of the entity receiving the award;
       (B) the amount of the award;
       (C) information on the award including transaction type, 
     funding agency, the North American Industry Classification 
     System code or Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance number 
     (where applicable), program source, and an award title 
     descriptive of the purpose of each funding action;
       (D) the location of the entity receiving the award and the 
     primary location of performance under the award, including 
     the city, State, congressional district, and country;
       (E) a unique identifier of the entity receiving the award 
     and of the parent entity of the recipient, should the entity 
     be owned by another entity; and
       (F) any other relevant information specified by the Office 
     of Management and Budget.
       (2) Scope of data.--The website shall include data for 
     fiscal year 2007, and each fiscal year thereafter.
       (3) Designation of agencies.--The Director of the Office of 
     Management and Budget is authorized to designate one or more 
     Federal agencies to participate in the development, 
     establishment, operation, and support of the single website. 
     In the initial designation, or in subsequent instructions and 
     guidance, the Director may specify the scope of the 
     responsibilities of each such agency.
       (4) Agency responsibilities.--Federal agencies shall comply 
     with the instructions and guidance issued by the Director of 
     the Office of Management and Budget under paragraph (3), and 
     shall provide appropriate assistance to the Director upon 
     request, so as to assist the Director in ensuring the 
     existence and operation of the single website.
       (c) Website.--The website established under this section--
       (1) may use as the source of its data the Federal 
     Procurement Data System, Federal Assistance Award Data 
     System, and, if all of these data sources are 
     searchable through the website and can be accessed in a 
     single search;
       (2) shall not be considered in compliance if it hyperlinks 
     to the Federal Procurement Data System website, Federal 
     Assistance Award Data System website, website, or 
     other existing websites, so that the information elements 
     required in subsection (b)(1) cannot be searched 
     electronically by field in a single search;
       (3) shall provide an opportunity for the public to provide 
     input about the utility of the site and recommendations for 
     improvements; and
       (4) shall be updated not later than 30 days after the award 
     of any Federal award requiring a posting.
       (d) Subaward Data.--
       (1) Pilot program.--
       (A) In general.--Not later than July 1, 2007, the Director 
     of the Office of Management and Budget shall commence a pilot 
     program to--
       (i) test the collection and accession of data about 
     subgrants and subcontracts; and
       (ii) determine how to implement a subaward reporting 
     program across the Federal Government, including--

       (I) a reporting system under which the entity issuing a 
     subgrant or subcontract is responsible for fulfilling the 
     subaward reporting requirement; and
       (II) a mechanism for collecting and incorporating agency 
     and public feedback on the design and utility of the website.

       (B) Termination.--The pilot program under subparagraph (A) 
     shall terminate not later than January 1, 2009.
       (2) Reporting of subawards.--
       (A) In general.--Based on the pilot program conducted under 
     paragraph (1), and, except as provided in subparagraph (B), 
     not later than January 1, 2009, the Director of the Office of 
     Management and Budget--
       (i) shall ensure that data regarding subawards are 
     disclosed in the same manner as data regarding other Federal 
     awards, as required by this Act; and
       (ii) shall ensure that the method for collecting and 
     distributing data about subawards under clause (i)--

       (I) minimizes burdens imposed on Federal award recipients 
     and subaward recipients;
       (II) allows Federal award recipients and subaward 
     recipients to allocate reasonable costs for the collection 
     and reporting of subaward data as indirect costs; and
       (III) establishes cost-effective requirements for 
     collecting subaward data under block grants, formula grants, 
     and other types of assistance to State and local governments.

       (B) Extension of deadline.--For subaward recipients that 
     receive Federal funds through State, local, or tribal 
     governments, the Director of the Office of Management and 
     Budget may extend the deadline for ensuring that data 
     regarding such subawards are disclosed in the same manner as 
     data regarding other Federal awards for a period not to 
     exceed 18 months, if the Director determines that compliance 
     would impose an undue burden on the subaward recipient.
       (e) Exception.--Any entity that demonstrates to the 
     Director of the Office of Management and Budget that the 
     gross income, from all sources, for such entity did not 
     exceed $300,000 in the previous tax year of such entity shall 
     be exempt from the requirement to report subawards under 
     subsection (d), until the Director determines that the 
     imposition of such reporting requirements will not cause an 
     undue burden on such entities.
       (f) Construction.--Nothing in this Act shall prohibit the 
     Office of Management and Budget from including through the 
     website established under this section access to data that is 
     publicly available in any other Federal database.
       (g) Report.--
       (1) In general.--The Director of the Office of Management 
     and Budget shall submit to the Committee on Homeland Security 
     and Governmental Affairs of the Senate and the Committee on 
     Government Reform of the House of Representatives an annual 
     report regarding the implementation of the website 
     established under this section.
       (2) Contents.--Each report submitted under paragraph (1) 
     shall include--
       (A) data regarding the usage and public feedback on the 
     utility of the site (including recommendations for improving 
     data quality and collection);
       (B) an assessment of the reporting burden placed on Federal 
     award and subaward recipients; and
       (C) an explanation of any extension of the subaward 
     reporting deadline under subsection (d)(2)(B), if applicable.

[[Page H6499]]

       (3) Publication.--The Director of the Office of Management 
     and Budget shall make each report submitted under paragraph 
     (1) publicly available on the website established under this 


       Nothing in this Act shall require the disclosure of 
     classified information.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to the rule, the gentleman from 
Virginia (Mr. Tom Davis) and the gentleman from Illinois (Mr. Davis) 
each will control 20 minutes.
  The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Virginia.

                             General Leave

  Mr. TOM DAVIS of Virginia. Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that 
all Members have 5 legislative days within which to revise and extend 
their remarks and include extraneous material on the bill under 
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Is there objection to the request of the 
gentleman from Virginia?
  There was no objection.
  Mr. TOM DAVIS of Virginia. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I 
may consume.
  Majority Whip Roy Blunt and I originally introduced H.R. 5060 to 
amend the Federal Financial Assistance Management Improvement Act of 
1999 to require data with respect to Federal financial assistance to be 
available for public access in a searchable and user-friendly form. Our 
bill passed the House on June 21, 2006.
  Today, we are taking up the Senate companion bill, S. 2590, 
introduced by Senator Coburn and Senator Obama, which would require 
Federal financial assistance data, as well as data about government 
contracts, to be available for public access.
  This bill would require the Office of Management and Budget to create 
a Web site listing all grant awards and contracts in a manner that 
would be easily accessible and free of charge. In a nutshell, this is 
about information to taxpayers about how their hard-earned dollars are 
being spent. Each award or contract would have to be listed on the Web 
site within 30 days of enactment of this act. Currently, no such real-
time disclosure is required to grant awards, and data that is available 
often is not timely.
  Further, there is no central database of all entities receiving 
Federal funds, including the nearly 30,000 organizations that are 
awarded nearly $300 billion in Federal grants each year. In fact, 
several agencies have taken different approaches to publicizing 
information about grantees, and all too often little or no information 
is available online.
  This legislation puts into place a framework that sheds light on the 
Federal grant process, allowing anyone with access to the Internet the 
ability to review and search financial assistance rewards. Sunshine, 
Mr. Speaker, is the best disinfectant. This legislation will provide 
greater transparency in the grant-making process and require continued 
improvement of the already existing, but inadequate transparency, in 
Federal contract awards.
  I want to thank the gentleman from Missouri for recognizing the 
importance of this issue. I want to congratulate him on bringing this 
measure forward. I also want to thank our ranking member, Mr. Waxman, 
for reaching across the aisle to move this legislation forward in a 
timely manner.
  Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. DAVIS of Illinois. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I 
might consume.
  Mr. Speaker, S. 2590 calls for the creation of a new searchable 
database of all Federal grants and contracts to be made publicly 
available on the Internet. This will require the Office of Management 
and Budget to develop a database that can be useful to individuals and 
organizations researching Federal grant funding. In addition, it should 
allow the public to better access information about the billions of 
dollars spent on Federal contracting.
  I would like to highlight one important difference between this bill 
and H.R. 5060, which passed the House in June. The database created 
under H.R. 5060 was missing a key component, information about Federal 
contract spending. Contract information is essential to meaningful 
public oversight. As Federal contract spending increases, and from 2000 
to 2005, it has soared by 86 percent from $203.2 billion to $377.5 
billion. There is a vital need for the public to be able to track and 
understand this spending.
  I want to thank Chairman Davis and Majority Whip Blunt for 
reconsidering their position on the contract information issue and hope 
that our efforts today will make Federal contract information freely 
and easily accessible to the public.
  I also want to commend the hard work of Senator Coburn and Senator 
Obama on this legislation. As Members of Congress, we have a 
responsibility to increase public understanding of Federal spending and 
public access to information about how taxpayer dollars are spent.
  Currently, the public has access to a grants data system, the Federal 
Assistance Award Data System, that provides limited information about 
domestic grants. But this system is unwieldy and difficult to use. In 
addition, there is a publicly available database of contracts, the 
Federal Procurement Data System, FPDS; but it is too plagued with 
  So, today, we try to improve on those systems. The key to success 
will be implementation. Without it, we will be where we are now, with 
poor access to information. If implemented properly, public oversight 
of Federal spending will, indeed, increase.
  In closing, I must admit that I find it incredible that it has taken 
an act of Congress to make this information public. All of this 
information should be already available to the public. This is just one 
victory in our continuing fight for public access to government 
  Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time
  Mr. TOM DAVIS of Virginia. Mr. Speaker, I yield such time as he might 
consume to the gentleman from Missouri (Mr. Blunt), who has had a lot 
to do with originating this bill in the House and helping us work out 
the details with the Senate.
  Mr. BLUNT. Chairman Davis, thank you for yielding, and thank you for 
your great work on this bill.
  Mr. Speaker, this week we are having a discussion in the House about 
earmarks and earmark reform. Yet there is another process in the 
Federal Government that, despite spending $300 billion a year, has 
almost no access as we stand here today. Each year the Federal 
Government gives out thousands of grants to various organizations and 
entities. All told, some 30,000 organizations a year receive grants. 
Yet there is no central system available to the public or even to the 
Congress to determine who is receiving these taxpayer funds and how 
they are being spent.
  That is why Chairman Davis and I introduced, and in June the House 
passed, H.R. 5060 with the support of Mr. Waxman and Mr. Davis of 
Illinois. This was a bill to require a publicly searchable database of 
all Federal grants. Our colleagues in the other body, led by Senator 
Coburn and Senator Obama, passed a slightly different bill that 
established a similar but different database for grants and Federal 
  Last week we were able to collectively announce a final agreement 
representing the best element of both bills. Our agreement requires the 
Office of Management and Budget to establish a searchable Web site 
listing all recipients of Federal financial assistance such as loans 
and grants, as well as a separate database covering all contracts over 
the $25,000 reporting threshold.
  This site will provide an invaluable tool enabling the Congress, the 
public, and the media to easily determine who is receiving taxpayer 
funds and doing business with the government. This information will be 
critical in uncovering wasteful spending and ensuring compliance with 
existing Federal laws.
  There are numerous examples of wasteful government grants, such as 
millions of dollars spent with the National Institute of Mental Health 
to study what makes a meaningful day for college students, or to study 
how college students decorate their dorm rooms. There was even one 
example of a grant for $700,000 at the EPA where the grant was given 
without any knowledge, apparently, of what work was to be performed as 
a result of the grant.
  The bill we are passing today will empower everyone with access to 
the Internet to begin reviewing the Federal

[[Page H6500]]

grants and other forms of taxpayer assistance to look for waste, fraud, 
abuse or just to simply know who, in their community, or in other 
communities they are aware of, are receiving these grants. This 
legislation will also help to ensure that Federal laws are adhered to 
by those receiving taxpayer funds.
  Frequently, Federal law imposes various restrictions or requirements 
on Federal grantees. For example, the Congress has entities or has 
required that entities receiving funds under our Global AIDS Program 
have a firm policy opposing prostitution and sex trafficking.
  Yet last year, the Government Reform Subcommittee on Criminal 
Justice, Drug Policy and Human Resources uncovered that a USAID grantee 
was subcontracting taxpayer funds to, in fact, a pro-prostitution 
organization. Our bill required grantees to also disclose their 
subgrantees, thus making it easier to ensure compliance with important 
Federal policies, like those applicable to the Global AIDS Program.

                              {time}  1945

  This legislation will also ensure compliance with existing lobbying 
restrictions. The 1995 Lobbying Disclosure Act prohibits 501(c)4 
organizations from receiving Federal grants and lobbying, even with 
their own funds.
  The restriction has been difficult to enforce. The Inspector General 
for the EPA determined in 2004, for example, that for 5 years the 
Consumer Federation of America had spent some of the $5 million it 
received in Federal grants to lobby the government. A central database 
of entities receiving Federal grants would provide an important tool to 
ensure compliance with existing law.
  It is my belief that this bill will provide important information to 
all Americans and serve as a powerful tool to improve how government 
spends precious taxpayer funds.
  I want to thank Chairman Davis and Ranking Member Waxman for their 
assistance in moving this legislation forward, and in particular I want 
to thank the staff of the Government Reform Committee, particularly 
Ellen Brown, John Brosnan and Ed Puccarella, for their efforts.
  I urge passage of this important legislation.
  Mr. DAVIS of Illinois. Mr. Speaker, I continue to reserve the balance 
of my time.
  Mr. TOM DAVIS of Virginia. I yield 3 minutes to the gentleman from 
Indiana (Mr. Souder).
  (Mr. SOUDER asked and was given permission to revise and extend his 
  Mr. SOUDER. Mr. Speaker, I first want to thank our majority whip, the 
chairman of Government Reform Committee and Senator Coburn in 
particular for the way they moved this bill, introduced the bill and 
moved this bill through. We all realize that the government needs to be 
more transparent and we are working towards those directions.
  But as you heard Mr. Blunt mention earlier, our subcommittee, the one 
that I chair, had one of the more frustrating experiences. Chairman 
Davis, myself, many of the subcommittee chairmen in Government Reform's 
job is to do oversight over the executive branch, and it is very hard 
to get the data we need to do proper oversight.
  We started in December, actually October 6, 2005, to ask USAID for 
some information on whether they were following congressional 
guidelines as far as a particular group and program that we had been 
tipped off may not have been following those guidelines. USAID at the 
meeting denied they were funding this organization.
  We asked them for documentation. They said documentation didn't 
exist. My staff director, Marc Wheat, and our hard-working staff, dug 
up on Google in actuality documents that the State Department said 
didn't exist. We also had people from other agencies that leaked us 
documents. So they in effect came to us and told us a mistruth about 
what existed and didn't exist. They also buried it in subcontractors.
  This organization, SANGRAM, had in fact been a high risk candidate 
already because they had publicly opposed having prostitution be 
illegal. They had written, We believe that when involuntarily 
initiation into prostitution occurs, a process of socialization within 
the institution of prostitution exists, whereby the involuntary nature 
of the business changes increasingly into one of active acceptance, not 
necessarily with resignation. This is not a coercive process.'' In 
other words, they believe prostitution is a legitimate form of a job.
  Now, that is contrary to Federal law. But even though this group had 
taken that position and even though our government had let them 
participate, they had tried to disguise in the grant process who was 
getting the money. We had a case of an organization that went in to 
rescue some women from prostitution, and when they were rescued, this 
organization, funded with taxpayer dollars, contrary to U.S. law, went 
and took the women back into prostitution in Asia.
  We cannot on the one hand be trying to get women out of prostitution, 
and on the other hand be funding it contrary to law. The fundamental 
problem here was we couldn't follow the grants.
  The reason you need transparency and the reason we need transparency 
in the executive branch and the reason we need transparency in the 
legislative branch is so we can at least see where the money goes. Then 
you can debate with your politicians whether it is the right policy or 
the wrong policy. But when you can't find where the money goes, it is 
impossible to do responsible legislation and absolutely impossible to 
do responsible oversight.
  I thank the chairman of the Government Reform Committee for making 
the executive branch be accountable as well, and for our leader and for 
the cooperation of the Democrats on this issue. This should be a 
bipartisan effort. Let the sun shine on all earmarks and let the sun 
shine on all grants
  Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of S. 2590, Federal Funding 
Accountability and Transparency Act. The database envisioned in this 
act will be a vital tool for creating a more open spending process.
  As we all know, government spending is often an impenetrable web of 
confusion and dead-ends. Exactly who receives taxpayer money may be 
difficult to ascertain. In some instances, agencies cannot answer 
definitively if an organization receives taxpayer funding or not. Such 
messy records and bookkeeping would not be tolerated in the private 
sector. Furthermore, the government does not allow the private sector 
to keep such abysmal records. Establishing the database proposed in 
this bill will cut through this web and allow easy access to who 
receives money and for what purpose. The need for this type of system 
will help not only in area of earmarks, but also in the awarding of 
government grants and contracts.
  The necessity of such a database is best illustrated by an exchange 
between USAID and the Government Reform Subcommittee on Criminal 
Justice, Drug Policy, and Human Resources. In my capacity as Chairman 
of the subcommittee, on October 6, 2005, I sent a letter to USAID 
seeking information about its funding of the pro-prostitution non-
governmental organization called SANGRAM in violation of Public Law 
108-25, the United States Leadership Against HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, 
and Malaria Act of 2003.
  According to an unclassified State Department memorandum obtained by 
subcommittee staff, Restore International, an anti-trafficking NGO that 
works with law enforcement agencies in India, was ``confronted by a 
USAID-funded NGO [SANGRAM] while the former attempted to rescue and 
provide long-term care for child victims of sex trafficking. The 
confrontation led to the release of 17 minor girls--victims of 
trafficking--into the hands of traffickers and trafficking 
accomplices.'' According to this memorandum, SANGRAM ``allowed a 
brothel keeper into a shelter to pressure the girls not to cooperate 
with counselors. The girls are now back in the brothels, being 
subjected to rape for profit.''
  On November 16, 2005, a USAID briefer asserted to Government Reform 
Committee staff that USAID had ``nothing to do with'' the grant to the 
pro-prostitution SANGRAM, and that the Committee's inquiries were 
``destructive.'' The Subcommittee is now in possession of documents 
that demonstrate that USAID must provide a revised briefing to Congress 
on its true role.
  These documents prove that USAID money financed the pro-prostitution 
SANGRAM through a second organization named Avert, which was 
established with the assistance of four USAID employees as a pass-
through entity. USAID has held the ex-officio Vice Chairmanship of 
Avert since inception.
  According to these documents, the USAID board member of Avert voted 
twice to award funding to SANGRAM (July 27, 2002 and again on December 
3, 2004), the last time

[[Page H6501]]

being some 18 months after the provisions of Public Law 108-25 
prohibited taxpayer funding of pro-prostitution groups like SANGRAM.
  That SANGRAM was a high-risk candidate for not complying with Public 
Law 108-25 should not have been a surprise to USAID. SANGRAM was a 
cosigner, along with many other high-risk candidates, of a May 18, 2005 
letter to President Bush opposing the anti-prostitution pledge. 
Subcommittee staff found posted on a USAID-sponsored Web site, a 5-
year-old report from SANGRAM that states: ``We believe that when 
involuntary initiation into prostitution occurs, a process of 
socialization within the institution of prostitution exists, whereby 
the involuntary nature of the business changes increasingly into one of 
active acceptance, not necessarily with resignation. This is not a 
coercive process.''
  I agree with President Bush that ``It takes a special kind of 
depravity to exploit and hurt the most vulnerable members of society. 
Human traffickers rob children of their innocence; they expose them to 
the worst of life before they have seen much of life. Traffickers tear 
families apart. They treat their victims as nothing more than goods and 
commodities for sale to the highest bidder.'' It is inconceivable that 
an organization like SANGRAM could have received funding from 
the American taxpayer had USAID put in place an adequate management 
system to carry out Public Law 108-25.

  On December 13, 2005, a large briefing team from the Department of 
State and USAID met with staff from the Subcommittee I chair concerning 
this matter, in order to demonstrate ownership of the problem and to 
layout corrective measures being taken. To my dismay and astonishment, 
the briefers were not prepared to discuss (and exhibited little 
knowledge of) the pass-through entity known as Avert that USAID 
established and which served as the mechanism whereby NGOs in India 
were monitored and financed with American tax dollars. Subcommittee 
staff knew more than the State/USAID briefing team about this matter 
thanks to Google searches on the web for critical documents that had 
not been provided to the Subcommittee by the Administration.
  In the months since that December 13 appeal was made for an 
electronic registry, the Subcommittee request has inspired two pieces 
of legislation: first in the other body, and the second we are debating 
here today. This scandal of financing pro-prostitution groups by USAID 
was highlighted by the authors in both chambers as illustrating the 
need for this legislation.
  I urge the swift passage of this legislation. If we are going to 
continue to spend tax-payer money, the American people deserve to know 
how it is being spent and by whom. Flagrantly disgusting examples of 
the misuse of tax-payer funds must be made known and eliminated.
  Mr. DAVIS of Illinois. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may 
  Mr. Speaker, I will close by just simply saying that I don't believe 
that we can overemphasize the importance of transparency in government, 
and especially as it relates to contracting. I would urge passage of 
this legislation. I am proud to be a cosponsor of it
  Mr. WAXMAN. Mr. Speaker, the bill we are considering today, S. 2950, 
requires the Office of Management and Budget to create a searchable 
database of federal grants and contracts accessible to the public on 
the Internet. I am pleased to support this bill.
  In June, the House considered a watered down version of this bill, 
H.R. 5060. The House bill included only grants, leaving out hundreds of 
billions of dollars in annual spending on federal contracts. At the 
time, I urged Chairman Davis to work with me to include contract 
disclosure in the legislation.
  The bill before us today is stronger and more comprehensive than the 
bill passed by the House in June. While the House bill covered only 
grants, the database created under this legislation will include all 
federal grants and contracts. If this bill is implemented properly, any 
citizen with Internet access will be able to examine a comprehensive 
set of records for information about federal spending. For each grant 
or contract awarded, the database will include details about the 
recipient of the award, as well as the amount of the award, the purpose 
of the funding action, and other relevant information.
  There has been considerable confusion about what this bill does and 
does not do. The information that this bill requires to be posted on 
the Internet is not secret. In fact, there are existing databases that 
are accessible to Congress and the public that are already required to 
include the information covered in this bill.
  Under current law, for example, there is a federal procurement 
database maintained by the General Services Administration. This 
database, called the Federal Procurement Data System, is required to 
contain significant amount of information about each federal contract.
  Similarly, there is a grants database maintained by the Census 
Bureau, the Federal Assistance Data System, which collects information 
about domestic financial assistance awards. In addition, and 
various databases maintained by individual agencies, contain some of 
this information.
  But these databases don't always contain the information that they 
are supposed to contain. They aren't always kept up to date. And they 
can be difficult to use.
  In essence, what this bill does is require that these existing 
databases be compiled into a new database that is more organized and 
more accessible.
  Ordinarily, I would not be in favor of legislation that requires the 
government to spend money repackaging data that is already in 
existence. But this bill is an exception. The current state of the 
existing databases is so poor that Congress is justified in passing new 
  Ultimately, implementation will be key to the success of this bill. 
If the administration is not committed to making the legislation work, 
all we will get is another incomplete and hard-to-use database. My hope 
is that by passing this bill with broad, bipartisan support, we are 
sending a signal to the administration that it needs to do a better 
  Members of Congress from both parties and both the House and Senate 
have worked hard to make this bill a reality. I want to compliment 
Senator Obama and Senator Coburn, in particular, for their leadership. 
They put aside partisanship to forge the bill we are considering today. 
I also want to thank Chairman Davis for agreeing to expand the scope of 
this bill to cover contracts.
  The legislation we are passing today is not comprehensive reform; it 
will not restore honesty and accountability in government. It's a 
modest, bipartisan step in the direction of open government. But in the 
climate we're currently in, even a small step forward is worth 
supporting and celebrating.
  I urge support of this legislation.
  Mr. DAVIS of Illinois. Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my 
  Mr. TOM DAVIS of Virginia. Mr. Speaker, I urge all Members to support 
the passage of S. 2590.
  Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The question is on the motion offered by the 
gentleman from Virginia (Mr. Tom Davis) that the House suspend the 
rules and pass the Senate bill, S. 2590.
  The question was taken; and (two-thirds having voted in favor 
thereof) the rules were suspended and the Senate bill was passed.
  A motion to reconsider was laid on the table.