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Public Statements

Digital Accountability and Transparency Act of 2013

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. CANTOR. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman from California. I want to thank him, as well as the gentlelady from the District of Columbia, for their work on the DATA Act.

Mr. Speaker, I do rise today in support of the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act. The American people deserve a functioning government that is both open and accountable. The DATA Act is an important step to achieving this goal because it will publish Federal spending data and transform it from disconnected documents into open, searchable data for people to see and read through online.

This easily accessible data will create an abundant amount of resources and opportunities for innovation to occur. It will bring about new start-ups and innovators, all of which will be aimed toward turning this data into actionable information.

This information can then be used to help solve some of our Nation's most pressing problems and help all of us better determine where we can better eliminate waste.

Over the last year, Mr. Speaker, I had the privilege of visiting a civic start-up called Code for America in California. It is an organization that is committed to helping solve problems, primarily at the local level.

It has a long list of programmers and developers who are ready to take action across the country. They want to use their skills and apply those skills to help government and its citizens be more efficient. But they, first, need to know, when they go into a locality, whether the kind of information they need is going to be accessible.

We can begin to do that today here at the Federal level. With the passage of the DATA Act, we will be one step closer to the American people being able to hold government bureaucracies accountable. Plain and simple, Federal spending data will be easier to access under this bill.

Mr. Speaker, there has been a lot of controversy surrounding the rollout of ObamaCare over the last month. And beyond the core problem of the law's causing the cancelation of individuals' insurance, beyond the core problem of the law's causing the increase in costs to millions of Americans for their health care, one of the more frustrating issues is a lack of transparency on the part of government bureaucracy.

We just cannot tell what the information is right now. How many people have really signed up for ObamaCare?

We don't know whether it is people who have purchased plans on the site, or whether it is people who have just put them into their shopping carts. Again, very, very frustrating, not only for folks around the country, but for those of us who want to try and help the situation so that government is not cramming down on anyone its prescribed method of health care coverage.

So the DATA Act is an opportunity for both parties to come together and to demonstrate that we are serious about creating a more open and effective government and about holding government accountable. Let's pass this bill so we can begin to restore trust with the American people.

Again, I want to thank the gentleman from California, Chairman Darrell Issa, as well as the gentlelady from the District of Columbia, for their work on this bill, the other members of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee for their hard work; and I urge my colleagues to support the bill.


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