This bill to track every federal dollar somehow united Cummings and Issa


Reps. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), left, and Darrell Issa (R-Calif.). – J. Scott Applewhite/AP.

Conflict generally defines the relationship between the two heads of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee these days, but they recently agreed on this: Americans should be able to track every dollar their government spends.

Reps. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) and Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) have sponsored a bill that would establish a single Web site where federal agencies would have to show all of their expenditures, in addition to standardizing financial reporting across the executive branch.

Sens. Mark Warner (D-Va.) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio) sponsored a companion measure that the Senate approved unanimously on Thursday.

DATA Act

The goal of the legislation is to make information about government spending easily accessible for taxpayers, lawmakers and officials, according to a joint statement from the lawmakers.

“The American taxpayer deserves to know when, where and how his or her money is spent,” Issa said.

Cummings added that the legislation is necessary to make the government “more effective and efficient through greater transparency and greater accountability in how agencies spend taxpayer dollars.”

Issa and Cummings have found little common ground since the oversight committee began investigating the Internal Revenue Service’s targeting of advocacy groups based on their names and policy positions.

The two lawmakers have continuously fought over the matter, with Cummings accusing Republicans of promoting false theories about ties to the White House, while Issa has criticized Democrats for rushing to conclusions about whether or not political motives were involved.

Follow Josh Hicks on TwitterFacebook or Google+. Connect by e-mail at  josh.hicks(at)washpost.comVisit The Federal Eye, and The Fed Page for more federal news. Submit news tips and suggestions to federalworker@washpost.com.

Josh Hicks covers the federal government and anchors the Federal Eye blog. He reported for newspapers in the Detroit and Seattle suburbs before joining the Post as a contributor to Glenn Kessler’s Fact Checker blog in 2011.
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Josh Hicks · April 11