Panel approves bill calling for a federal grants Web site

The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Wednesday approved a bill requiring the Office of Management and Budget to develop a public Web site that allows federal grant applicants to track their applications.

The bill (S. 3341) also requires the OMB director to develop a plan for electronic capability that will allow non-federal agencies to manage federal financial assistance programs. Under the bill, each federal agency would be required to report to OMB about its progress in developing that plan.

Sen. George Voinovich, R-Ohio, sponsor of the legislation, said when he introduced it that the bill would enhance the transparency of the grant application process and allow applicants to provide information and report on the use of the grants in a user-friendly manner.

The new legislation builds on the Federal Financial Assistance Management Improvement Act, enacted in 1999. The new legislation will sunset after five years.

"In 1999, I said the Federal Financial Assistance Management Improvement Act was an important step toward detangling the web of duplicative federal grants available to States, localities and community organizations," Voinovich said. "While some progress has been made to detangle that web, work remains to be done, and I hope that Congress will quickly reauthorize this law so that OMB and federal agencies continue those efforts."