Lankford Helps Make Competitive Federal Grant Process More Direct, Straightforward for Oklahomans

WASHINGTON, DC – Senators James Lankford (R-OK), Gary Peters (D-MI), and John Cornyn (R-TX) introduced the Streamlining Federal Grants Act to help streamline the administration of grant programs across the federal government.

“Strategic, competitive federal grants can open opportunities for cities, states, and tribes, as well as local fire departments and others to improve infrastructure, interstate highways and waterways, broadband internet, and more,” said Lankford. “But, the huge federal bureaucratic maze continues to make the grant process difficult to navigate. We can do better and we are. Our bill clearly designates an existing employee at each agency to serve on an interagency grants council, serve as the public contact for grants, and help implement the standards of my GREAT Act. Each agency has its own grants process, but the public-facing side of grants should be as simple and straightforward as possible.”

“Complicated and outdated processes to apply for federal grants often result in underserved communities missing out on opportunities to receive critical funding,” said Peters. “This bipartisan legislation will help modernize this process and make sure every community in Michigan and across the nation has an equal opportunity to receive federal funding.”

“Applicants from local governments and organizations shouldn’t have to navigate layers of red tape in order to apply for a federal grant,” said Cornyn. “This legislation would streamline the federal grant application process for Texas communities to ensure they can access the assistance they need.”

Governments and organizations in small and rural communities often struggle when applying for federal grants because they lack the necessary resources to navigate a complicated application process. Our bill would simplify and streamline this application process to increase access to federal grants for all communities. The legislation builds on a 2019 law led by Lankford and Peters that required federal grant programs to streamline data standards for applications and reporting.

The bill directs the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to provide guidance to federal agencies on how they can simplify and streamline their grant application processes, including by making notice of funding opportunities easier to understand, updating software and systems that are used to apply for and manage federal grants, and implementing common data standards for grant reporting. The bill also requires agencies to appoint a senior official to develop and implement these plan to improve their grant application and reporting processes. By improving and updating the process to apply for federal grants, our legislation would reduce the burden on organizations applying for grants, and ensure the fair and efficient distribution of federal grants to communities with the greatest need. 

Lankford recently questioned Jeff Arkin, the director of strategic issues at the Government Accountability Office (GAO), about the complicated and burdensome federal grants process and the wasteful spending that goes on in our federal grant programs when we are at $31 trillion in national debt and climbing.