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Friday, September 15, 2006

OMB sizing up challenge in new spending database

"As legislation requiring the development of a searchable public database tracking federal spending heads for the president's certain signature, Office of Management and Budget officials are already sizing up what could be a mammoth task in collecting and organizing the data.

Clay Johnson, OMB deputy director for management, said today that although most of the data exists for the massive portal, the biggest challenge will be finding it across the government and making sure it is accurate and in a usable format.

'The feeling is most of the data exists,' Johnson said after a briefing on S. 2590 in Washington. 'It may not exist in the form and level of detail it needs, and it may exist in some agencies but not with others. ' The primary technological challenge will be to go out and get the data [and] pull it back when it's requested, not to create the data and create a massive database.'

The bill passed in the House last night, after clearing the Senate last week, and now moves to the president for his expected signature.

Under the legislation, OMB must develop a searchable database with information on federal contracts, subcontracts, grants, subgrants, loans and other financial assistance by January 2008. "

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