Rep. Cuellar Makes Government Spending More Transparent
Directs Govt to Post Grant Awards, Vendor Contracts Online
Congressman Henry Cuellar announced today that he is making government spending more transparent to the American people, by directing that all unclassified vendor contracts and grant awards from federal agencies be posted publicly on USAspending.gov.
“I directed these changes to increase transparency, good governance, and smart spending,” explain Congressman Cuellar. “This money belongs to the American people – it’s trillions of their tax dollars – and they deserve to know exactly it is being spent. These online tools will help them hold their government accountable.”
The federal government distributes billions of taxpayer dollars each year to state and local governments in the form of grants. Those state and local governments, in turn, distribute funds to organizations or companies (vendors) for projects in their communities. For example, every county in Congressman Cuellar’s district – Webb, Zapata, Starr, Hidalgo, McMullen, Atascosa, La Salle, Wilson, and Bexar – has received some federal grant funding in the last five years.
That money does a lot of good, helping with everything from educational programs to infrastructure projects. However, until now, tracking where all those billions of dollars end up has been challenging and complicated – especially if they were distributed in smaller amounts.
The Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006 (FFATA) originally created USAspending.gov to display spending of more than $25,000. The Department of Treasury’s Bureau of the Fiscal Service administers the website. Thanks to Congressman Cuellar as well as the DATA Act, they will now address some inconsistencies in reporting and display all grants.
Last week, the House of Representatives passed the Omnibus Appropriations Act, a bipartisan bill developed by the Appropriations Committee, where Congressmen Cuellar serves. The bill will fund the federal government for the remainder of the 2017 fiscal year. Congressman Cuellar’s new government transparency measures were part of this Omnibus legislation.
This week, the Fiscal Service announced Beta.USAspending.gov, a new version of the site that will provide taxpayers with even greater detail about nearly $4 trillion in federal spending.
Congressman Cuellar is Co-Chair of the Blue Dog Democrats, a coalition of fiscally conservative Democrats committed to the financial stability of the United States. Throughout his time in Congress, especially in his role on the Appropriations Committee, he has been a fierce proponent of good governance and transparency in federal spending.