For Immediate Release October 15, 2009
Contact: Brian Gumm 202-683-4812
or Phil Mattera 202-232-1616 x 212
Coalition for an Accountable Recovery Praises Timely Release of Recovery Act Recipient Reports; Criticizes Tools for Understanding Data
Washington, DC - The Coalition for an Accountable Recovery (CAR) gave mixed reactions to the first wave of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Recovery Act) recipient data disclosed today at Recovery.gov, the official reporting website.
"The Recovery Act is proving to be the most transparent federal spending law ever enacted," said Gary D. Bass, executive director of OMB Watch. "It is a watershed because the Obama administration has successfully created a new reporting system that requires recipients of Recovery Act funds to report in a timely manner how they are using federal resources. Unfortunately, the Recovery.gov website is an ineffective and inadequate tool for understanding the very small share of Recovery Act dollars reported today."
"Today marks a new chapter in federal transparency," said Phil Mattera, research director of Good Jobs First. "We expect a surge in taxpayer interest in the Recovery Act in particular and government's role in the economy in general. But people trying to figure out how the Recovery Act is helping in their community do not yet have all the information they need."
While acknowledging the significant precedent set by today's data release, the Coalition expects significant improvements will be made to the Recovery.gov website before the recipient data about grants and loans are released on Oct. 30. Some of the main problems that need to be fixed include:
"The Recovery Board has been responsive to input in the past, and we're confident that the website will continue to be improved," said Bass. "It is, after all, still a work in progress."
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The Coalition has submitted comments on "Federal Acquisition Regulation; FAR Case 2009–009, American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (the Recovery Act)—Reporting Requirements” (74 FR 14639).
FAR Case 2009-009 is an interim rule in the FAR that specifies the contract clause that federal agencies are to include in all Recovery Act contracts. CAR suggests that establishing a central data collection would alleviate burdens placed on prime contractors that are required to collect sub-contractor information. CAR also commented that there should be a standard definition of “Full Time Equivalent” to accurately measure job creation and retention by Recovery Act contractors.
The Coalition has submitted comments on “Federal Acquisition Regulation; FAR Case 2009–010, American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (the Recovery Act)—Publicizing Contract Actions” (74 FR 14636).
FAR Case 2009-010 is an interim rule in the FAR that specifies how Recovery Act pre- and post-award notices should be posted. CAR believes that pre-award notices should include the entire text of the contract.