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U.S. Senators James Lankford, R-Okla., Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., Gary Peters, D-Mich., and Maggie Hassan, D-N.H., today reintroduced the Grant Reporting Efficiency and Agreements Transparency (GREAT) Act. The GREAT Act would require the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and the leading administrator of grant programs to create a comprehensive and standardized data structure to cover all data elements reported by recipients of federal awards, including grants and cooperative agreements.

“One of my highest priorities in Congress is transparency of federal taxpayer dollars for the taxpayers,” said Lankford. “Competing for federal grants is one of the most widely used methods of dispersing federal dollars around our nation. As you can imagine, that process can be difficult to navigate and creates hours of often duplicative compliance paperwork for grant recipients. The GREAT Act streamlines data transparency requirements for grant recipients and ultimately makes data collection and dissemination to Congress faster and easier. Increased demand for federal oversight does not have to mean burdensome requirements on grant recipients. We can have an efficient federal grants system and transparency for taxpayers at the same time.”

“In its current form, grant reporting can be inefficient and overly complex,” Enzi said. “The GREAT Act would simplify the grant process and increase transparency to help keep track of federal dollars. By creating a standardized structure, this bipartisan bill would reduce compliance costs and burdens on grant recipients while utilizing modern technologies so taxpayers know how their tax dollars are being spent.”

“Every year, the federal government awards billions of dollars in grant funding to local governments, researchers, law enforcement, and other major projects whose mission is to improve lives and strengthen communities around the country,” said Peters. “Taxpayers should be able to apply for these resources without being forced to navigate a complex maze of administrative processes. Making this information readily available to the American people will help streamline the grant application process, improve transparency around how taxpayer dollars are awarded, and ensure our communities can reap the full benefits of federal investments.”

“This bipartisan legislation would modernize the reporting system for recipients of federal grants, helping to strengthen fiscal responsibility by better tracking the use of taxpayer dollars,” Hassan said.

The U.S. government awards more than $600 billion every year to state and local governments, agencies and other organizations. The Digital Accountability and Transparency Act of 2014 required OMB and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to conduct a pilot program to alleviate reporting burdens for grant recipients. HHS is currently the top awarder of federal grants. The pilot program found that grant recipients are often required to enter identical data multiple times, and there is no single repository for the data. This redundancy is burdensome for grant recipients and for congressional oversight.