Data Act (S. 994) – Introduced on May 21, 2013, it took nearly a year for this bill to be passed and signed by the President, who did so on May 9, 2014. Sponsored by Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., this bill expands the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006 to increase accountability and transparency in federal spending and other purposes. Soon taxpayers and policymakers will be able to track federal spending more effectively through streamlined reporting requirements and reduced compliance costs at USASpending.gov. Federal agencies will be held accountable for the completeness and accuracy of the data, which must be submitted in a searchable, downloadable format.
Department of Veterans Affairs Management Accountability Act of 2014 (H.R. 4031) – Sponsored by Jeff Miller, R-Fla., this bill would give the Secretary of Veterans Affairs the authority to remove, transfer or demote any senior executive for performance reasons. The House was scheduled to consider the bill in May and, if approved, it will move on to the Senate.
Both the House and the Senate were busy in May introducing simple resolutions, a nonbinding opinion that does not carry the full force of the law. They are typically matters of operation considered only by the division of Congress in which they are introduced. The vote for a simple resolution is conducted by roll call, in which congressional members may vote yes, no or abstain. A smattering of resolutions in May includes the following:
Condemning the abduction of female students by armed militants from the terrorist group known as Boko Haram in northeastern provinces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (H.Res. 573) – Introduced by Rep. Frederica Wilson, D-Fla., this resolution is under consideration by the house.
A resolution designating the week of May 1 through May 7, 2014, as “National Physical Education and Sport Week” (S.Res. 441) – Introduced by Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., this resolution was agreed to in the Senate on May 13.
A resolution recognizing the 50th anniversary of the Congressional declaration of bourbon whiskey as a distinctive product of the United States (S.Res. 446) – Introduced by Senior Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., this resolution was agreed to in the Senate on May 15.
A resolution expressing the regret of the Senate for the passage of section 3 of the Expatriation Act of 1907 that revoked the United States citizenship of women who married foreign nationals (S.Res. 402) – Introduced by Junior Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., this resolution was agreed to in the Senate on May 14.
Providing for the Establishment of the Select Committee on the Events Surrounding the 2012 Terrorist Attack in Benghazi (H.Res. 567) – Introduced by Rep. Pete Sessions, R-Texas, this resolution was agreed to in the Senate on May 8.