White House launches federal spending inventory

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The new online information service was mandated in 2010 legislation.

The White House launched a new, searchable federal spending inventory on Thursday. 

The Federal Program Inventory pulls from existing government data sources like SAM.gov and USASpending.gov to offer detailed information about the spending associated with different programs offering grants, loans and direct payments, the White House said in a Thursday announcement, as well as the objectives and eligibility requirements of the programs. 

The federal financial assistance spending that’s included in the inventory has in recent years accounted for over $3 trillion in federal spending, according to OMB, so the database includes “a high proportion of federal programs.”

The White House is touting the release as a win for government transparency and accessibility, and also noted that the new inventory paired with spending data fulfills a congressional mandate from the 2010 Government Performance and Results Act Modernization Act.

Currently, the new inventory pulls data from SAM.gov from the most recent annual data submission from agencies on obligations from the prior year, which were submitted during calendar 2023 and cover fiscal 2022, according to an OMB spokesperson. 

It also offers estimated obligations for fiscal 2023 and 2024 on individual program pages and eventually will be updated to show actual fiscal 2023 obligations once agencies do that annual reporting. 

The USASpending.gov data included in the inventory is up to date as of Jan. 8, 2024, the spokesperson told Nextgov/FCW, and includes obligations made in fiscal 2022, 2023 and in some cases parts of 2024. 

The Government Accountability Office has also been pushing OMB to create the database, noting that, “a comprehensive listing of programs, along with related funding and performance information, would help federal decision makers and the public better understand what the government does, what it spends, and what it achieves each year.” 

The new inventory is the result of a pilot done in 2020, although it includes more programs, spending and information than the pilot, according to the inventory website. Moving forward, OMB plans to continue working on aspects like underlying data and data categories, it says, to better categorize programs, standardize data fields and more.

In a 2013 statement Sen. Tom Coburn, a co-sponsor of the GPRA Modernization Act, said he looked forward to the planned service coming online and helping "identify in greater detail how the federal government is spending taxpayer dollars." 

Coburn passed away in 2020.