USAspending.gov’s Upgrades Falter

Improving federal spending transparency is a priority for many in the open government community, both inside and outside government. The Obama administration included commitments to improve spending transparency in its National Action Plans, and is working to implement the DATA Act, which promises to significantly increase public access to spending information. Reform efforts hit a snag, however, with the latest update to the White House’s spending information hub USAspending.gov. The website’s upgrades were intended to make the information more understandable using plain language, but also removed much of the site’s functionality by removing the keyword search and limiting searches for government contracts.

The Treasury Department says it is working to respond to the critical feedback. The Department has restored much of the bulk download capability and set up a GitHub page for feedback. According to USAspending.gov’s “What’s New” page, the Treasury team is also “working to implement additional search functionality including keyword search” and adding data archives.

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