The Standard Data Act of 2013

Floor Speech

By:  Tom Reed II
Date: March 5, 2013
Location: Washington, DC

Mr. REED. Mr. Speaker, today I join my colleague Mr. Doggett of Texas, to introduce the Standard Data and Technology Advancement Act of 2013, or the ``Standard DATA Act.'' This legislation follows legislation previously introduced and championed by former Congressman Geoff Davis during his time as the Committee on Ways and Means Human Resources Subcommittee Chairman.

The Standard DATA Act builds on the progress that has been made to establish consistent requirements for the electronic content and format of data used in the administration of key human services programs authorized by the Social Security Act.

Human services programs serve overlapping populations and should, from an information technology standpoint, operate consistently within and across programs. By continuing the process of data standardization and the use of common reporting mechanisms, this bill will help achieve three goals: better prevent and identify fraud and abuse; increase the efficiency of administrative resources to serve eligible beneficiaries; and produce program savings for U.S. taxpayers.

This bill continues the efforts begun in the bipartisan, bicameral Child and Family Services Extension and Enhancement Act of 2011, which was the first effort at requiring a human services program to implement standard data elements and reporting. President Obama signed that bill into law on September 30, 2011.

The Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012, signed by the President in February 2012, applied similar data standards provisions to unemployment insurance and the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program.

This program-by-program approach has been useful, but the ultimate goal is to work across programs. The legislation being introduced today provides a path forward to cover additional programs under the jurisdiction of the Human Resources subcommittee, with the intention of moving to create a complete system of program information exchange.

As a member of the Human Resources subcommittee I commend these efforts and recognize the data provisions enacted in P.L. 112-96 are designed to be a catalyst for continued action.

Consistent with the bipartisan approach developed and maintained by former Subcommittee Chairman Geoff Davis and Ranking Member LLOYD DOGGETT, today I introduce this bill with the full support of the Human Resources Subcommittee, from both sides of the aisle.

Improved data standards will help increase the efficiency of data exchanges to use and reuse data within and across programs. That will allow States to automate the exchange of claimant data on work and benefit receipt, reducing delays and minimizing improper payments. It will also help to automate application forms by pre-populating them with reliable and verified data, which can reduce the manual burden on staff and allow them more time to engage beneficiaries, all while reducing error.

This efficiency will better serve program beneficiaries and taxpayers at the same time.

I thank my colleagues for co-sponsoring this important legislation, starting with Mr. DOGGETT, the Ranking Member on the Human Resources Subcommittee, Mr. REICHERT, Chairman of the Human Resources Subcommittee, as well as Mr. LEWIS of Georgia, Dr. BOUSTANY, Mr. YOUNG of Indiana, Mr. GRIFFIN, Mr. RENACCI, Mr. TIBERI, Mr. PAULSEN and Mr. DANNY DAVIS of Illinois.

I invite all Members to join us in supporting this important legislation designed to improve the integrity of the benefit programs millions of Americans access today, and ensure that taxpayer funds are properly spent.

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