The GREAT Act Continues to Languish in Congress

August 2, 2018 | By Jerry Ashworth | Post a Comment

captiol-building-1228390Color us surprised! Who would have thought a piece of legislation known as the GREAT Act would take so long to work its way through Congress, especially since the bill has bipartisan support. Yet, here we still sit. Waiting.

In case you are unfamiliar with this legislation, Reps. Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.), and Jimmy Gomez (D-Calif.) earlier this year introduced the Grant Reporting Efficiency and Agreements Transparency (GREAT) Act (H.R. 4887), which is designed to transform federal grant reporting from disconnected documents into open data by directing the executive branch to adopt a standardized data structure for the information that award recipients must report to federal awarding agencies. By replacing outdated documents with open data, the GREAT Act could offer transparency for grantmaking agencies and the public, and allow awardees to automate their reporting processes, thereby reducing burden and compliance costs, according to its sponsors.

This bill was introduced in the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on Feb. 6 and has seven co-sponsors from both sides of the aisle. At the time, we honestly thought that the GREAT Act had a chance to easily work its way though Congress and be signed into law by now. Yet here it is, Aug. 2, and the bill is still in committee. One key holdup is that the Congressional Budget Office apparently has yet to conduct a final scoring of the legislation, preventing the review of the bill by the full House.

Perhaps some recent stakeholder support for the GREAT Act could get the wheels turning again on this legislation. During a hearing last week by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee’s Subcommittee on Intergovernmental Affairs, Data Coalition Executive Director Hudson Hollister said that Reps. Foxx and Gomez “deserve credit for championing this crucial reform.” Added Hollister: “If the GREAT Act were enacted and if we had a common data structure for all forms, it would be simple for a [state] governor’s office or grants office to understand the full picture of all grant funding received by the state. If the GREAT Act were enacted, we would have a single unified data set of all the information that grantees are reporting.”

Subscribers to Thompson’s Grants Compliance Expert can read more about this hearing in an article to be posted early next week, and we will continue to follow any future movement of the GREAT Act. Like the Data Coalition, we also support this legislation and hope it will become law in the not too distant future.

Let us know your opinions of the GREAT Act. We’d love to hear from you.

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