Treasury upgrades USASpending.Gov as agencies submit data

In an effort to increase government transparency, the Department of the Treasury has made the expanded USASpending.Gov database available to the public.  The project marks the culmination of a three-year initiative to increase government transparency mandated under the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act of 2014.

The Data Act mandates that agency CFOs submit federal spending information in a standardized, machine-readable format to by May 9.  The delivery of the agency spending data is only to be a starting point for increasing financial transparency.  

The new site tracks agency appropriation and expenditures, including contracts, grants, loans, employee salaries. It breaks the federal budget into 19 categories called budget functions, and links relevant agency expenditure data with awards distributed by the government.

Tapping into more than 400 datasets from more than 100 federal agencies, users can search and view the data online, download selected information or use an application programming interface to directly access data. The entire relational database can also be downloaded from Amazon Web Services.

The new site is using AWS’s Relational Database Service to store all of the data for the second quarter of fiscal year 2017.  The database is available through a PostgreSQL snapshot, which makes it easy for users to get a copy of the entire production database for their own use within minutes, according to an AWS blog post by Jed Sundwall who runs the AWS Public Datasets program. This feature allows researchers and businesses looking to work with government spending data to combine it with their own data or other resources, he added.  Spending information going back to 2000 will be added to the site over the summer.

“The new site provides taxpayers with the ability to track nearly $4 trillion in government spending from Washington, D.C., directly into their communities and cities,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said. “Furthermore, greater access to data will drive better decision making and strengthen accountability and transparency -- qualities central to the administration’s focus on a more innovative and effective government.”

The beta version of the site is now available here.

About the Author

Sara Friedman is a reporter/producer for GCN, covering cloud, cybersecurity and a wide range of other public-sector IT topics.

Before joining GCN, Friedman was a reporter for Gambling Compliance, where she covered state issues related to casinos, lotteries and fantasy sports. She has also written for Communications Daily and Washington Internet Daily on state telecom and cloud computing. Friedman is a graduate of Ithaca College, where she studied journalism, politics and international communications.

Friedman can be contacted at [email protected] or follow her on Twitter @SaraEFriedman.

Click here for previous articles by Friedman.


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