CBO: DATA Act would cost $575M

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Legislation sponsored by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) called the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act would cost the government $575 million to implement over 5 years, says the Congressional Budget Office.

In a cost estimate dated Sept. 16, the CBO attributes $325 million of the estimated total to requirements in the bill regarding the collecting and reporting of financial information. The DATA Act would require federal agencies, and most government contractors and grant award winners to adopt XBRL as a financial data reporting mechanism.

XBRL is a machine-readable metadata schema that opponents say would be far too expensive and cumbersome for widespread use. The Securities and Exchange Commission requires XBRL use, but only for the filing of quarterly public disclosures, not for actual accounting.

The $325 million figure is net of savings that would occur from eliminating some other federal financial data reporting systems, the CBO estimate says

The bill cleared the House Oversight and Government Reform committee, which Issa chairs, on June 22 but has not since been brought to the house floor for a vote. A related bill in the Senate, sponsored by Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) is still under consideration by the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.

For more:
- download the CBO cost estimate (.pdf)
- go to the THOMAS page for the DATA Act

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