05.24.16

Senator Lankford Introduces Federal Grant Transparency Bill

WASHINGTON, DC – Senator James Lankford (R-OK) has introduced the Grant Reform and New Transparency (GRANT) Act, S. 2972, to provide more transparency and accountability in the federal grant process. In 2015, federal agencies awarded $617 billion in grants compared to $439 billion in contracts, yet the grant process lacks a consistent system for transparency, oversight or feedback to organizations that were not awarded federal dollars. The GRANT Act would reform the current process to promote transparency in award decisions, improve the applicant vetting process and prevent duplication in grant awards. 

“Currently, federal agencies are in control of billions of taxpayer dollars with the freedom to award discretionary, competitive grants, but they are not required to make their selection process transparent. You cannot solve government duplication, waste and our national debt without confronting the closed federal grant process,” said Lankford. “The GRANT Act encourages federal agencies to be more open about each grant opportunity from the application through the completion of the program. The parameters set in this bill will help reduce spending through the elimination of red tape, remove duplication of grant programs and provide greater accountability.” 

The GRANT Act would require each federal agency to post on their website the solicitation timeline to identify potential grant opportunities expected for the upcoming year. Specifically, the bill would add measures that would improve the competitive grant-making process and promote transparency and:

  • Require agencies to ensure grantees have the necessary financial systems in place and are capable to fulfill the requirements of the grant;
  • Encourage agencies to utilize a text-sensitive search in the pre-award process to create awareness of awards from other agencies to avoid unnecessary duplication;
  • Promote transparency and open decision-making to provide applicants not awarded grants valued at more than $100,000 the opportunity for a debrief in which the agency will inform the organization about its decision to not award the grant;
  • Promote a diverse set of grant applicants and awardees.

In 2015, Lankford released a report entitled “Federal Fumbles: 100 ways the government dropped the ball.” The report lists $105 billion in wasteful federal spending and about $800 billion in negative regulatory impact to the economy. Eighteen of the 100 examples of waste in the report are federal government grant programs.

On Wednesday, May 25, the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs will hold a business meeting to consider the bill. 

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