Lankford bill to reform grant process

Rep. James Lankford, Oklahoma

Rep. James Lankford, Oklahoma

Washington, D.C. – Representative James Lankford (R-OK) announced the introduction of H.R. 3316, the Grant Reform and New Transparency (GRANT) Act of 2013. The bill would direct federal agencies to establish uniform standards for how they notice, award and disclose discretionary competitive grants, which would increase transparency and accountability to American taxpayers during the award process.

“Federal agencies annually award billions in discretionary and competitive grants but have few standards for disclosing the process of awarding the taxpayer-funded projects,” said Lankford. “In some agencies the current process lacks transparency and places an undue burden on grant applicants trying to navigate the system. The nebulous system also makes it difficult for lawmakers to hold agencies accountable for the stewardship and distribution of taxpayer dollars,” concluded Lankford.

The GRANT Act would provide much needed transparency by requiring each agency to post on a central grants website:

GovRegulations•    basic information about each grant opportunity, including a description of the factors that will be used to evaluate and rank grant applications;
•    grant award information, such as a copy of the successful grant application and award decision documentation, including rankings of successful applicants’ proposals and
•    the final report at the conclusion of the performance of the grant.

The bill protects national security and certain proprietary information by not requiring agencies to post information on the website that would otherwise be exempt under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). Agencies will also be required to screen potential grantees to make sure they are capable of actually performing the grant and have the necessary financial systems in place to protect taxpayer dollars. Agencies will be required to provide losing applicants for grants valued at more than $100,000 with an opportunity for a debriefing, if requested. Finally, the bill requires agencies to post on the website a grant solicitation forecast identifying potential grant opportunities expected in the upcoming year.

To view the bill text, please click here.