Congressional Record: September 11, 2006 (Senate)
Page S9297                      


  Mr. OBAMA. Mr. President, I rise today to speak about the Federal 
Funding Accountability and Transparency Act, which passed the Senate 
last week.
  This is an important bill that will bring badly needed transparency 
to Federal spending. The bill creates a user-friendly website to search 
all Government contracts, grants, earmarks, and loans, opening up 
Federal financial transactions to public scrutiny. By helping to lift 
the veil of secrecy in Washington, this website will help make us all 
better legislators. It will help make reporters better journalists. And 
it will help make all Americans more informed voters and more active 
  I am heartened to see that Government transparency can be a 
bipartisan issue. This bill has been cosponsored by more than 40 of our 
colleagues and has the support of more than 100 outside groups from all 
parts of the political spectrum. It has been endorsed by dozens of 
editorial boards across the country from the Wall Street Journal, to 
the Chicago Sun-Times and The Oklahoman. Most people I speak to in 
Illinois or here in Washington or anywhere else wonder why a public 
website of all Federal spending does not already exist. To them, this 
is just common sense.
  Whether you believe the Government ought to spend more money or spend 
less, you should certainly be able to agree that the Government ought 
to spend every penny efficiently and transparently. Transparency is the 
first step to holding Government accountable for its actions and is a 
prerequisite to oversight and financial control. We can't reduce waste, 
fraud, and abuse without knowing how, where, and why Federal money is 
flowing out the door. This bill will provide that transparency, and not 
just to Members of Congress. Anybody with access to the Internet will 
be able to see how Federal funds are being spent. If Government 
spending can't withstand public scrutiny, then the money shouldn't be 
spent. The American people deserve no less.
  I want to express my appreciation for the hard work that went into 
getting S. 2590 passed. I would like to thank the majority leader and 
minority leader, as well as the chairman and ranking member of the 
Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, for their 
assistance in moving this important legislation forward.
  I would also like to thank the organizations that helped create a 
grassroots movement in support of Government transparency and in 
support of this bill. Without the hard work of OMB Watch, the Project 
on Government Oversight, and Citizens Against Government Waste, to name 
just a few supporters, this bill would not have been considered and 
passed so quickly.
  And most importantly, I would like to thank my colleague, Senator 
Coburn, and his outstanding staff for their diligence and dedication. 
Since Senator Coburn and I first met during freshman orientation, we 
have developed a close personal bond that has translated into a close 
working relationship to bring more transparency and accountability into 
the way that Government spends taxpayer money. I have been impressed by 
the commitment and tenacity with which he stands up for his principles 
and beliefs, and it is these qualities that enabled this bill to get 
  The House of Representatives is expected to vote on this bill later 
this week, and I am confident that our bipartisan and bicameral 
collaboration will quickly become law. It is not often that two 
Senators from different parties are able to bridge the partisan divide 
in this town and get something accomplished. But the American people 
demand greater transparency and accountability, and it is our honor and 
privilege--indeed, it is our duty--to provide the tools to help make 
that possible.