Treasury Finalizes Guide to DATA Act Standards

The Treasury Department building in Washington, DC.

The Treasury Department building in Washington, DC. Jacquelyn Martin/AP File Photo

The DATA Act requires federal agencies to publish their spending data.

Federal agencies now have a set of standards by which to publish their spending data. 

The Digital Accountability and Transparency Act, passed by Congress almost two years ago, requires federal agencies to make their financial information public. The Treasury Department and the Office of Management and Budget have been tasked with implementing that law. Late last week, the Treasury issued a final version of the "schema," outlining definitions, time frames and standards for data sharing.

Treasury previously issued four draft versions of the schema, and released the final version after reviewing comments from the public. 

Despite the progress, it still remains unclear whether agencies will make a May 2017 deadline for DATA Act compliance. 

During a House Oversight subcommittee hearing in April, OMB controller David Mader said he "couldn’t tell you today” that the agencies covered by that law would meet that timeline. 

The DATA Act is one of many attempts to make government data accessible to the public. President Obama's 2013 executive order required agencies to share their data in a machine readable format, and a recent bipartisan effort from lawmakers aims to codify that mandate.