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Davis, Doggett Introduce the Standard DATA Act

November 03, 2011

Washington, DC – Today, Ways and Means Human Resources Subcommittee Chairman Geoff Davis (R-KY) and Ranking Member Lloyd Doggett (D-TX) introduced H.R. 3339, the Standard Data and Technology Advancement Act, or the “Standard DATA Act.”  This legislation establishes consistent requirements for the electronic content and format of data used in the administration of key human services programs including TANF, child care, child support, foster care and adoption, SSI and unemployment insurance.

Human Resources Subcommittee Chairman Davis said, “Using lessons learned in the private sector, we know improved data standards will help increase the efficiency of data exchanges to effectively administer benefit programs.  One example is helping automate application forms by pre-populating them with reliable and verified data, which can reduce the manual burden on staff and allow them more time to engage people in need, all while reducing error.  That’s good for program beneficiaries and taxpayers at the same time.”

Human Resources Ranking Member Doggett stated, “This bill is a good step toward ensuring government programs are able to communicate effectively and efficiently with each other—a step that will ultimately address fraud and abuse, while at the same time helping eligible Americans receive the assistance that they need.”

Background : Applying the provisions of the Standard DATA Act across multiple programs will advance the longer-term goal of allowing data both within and across all Federal assistance programs to operate more efficiently – first by establishing standard elements for individual items of information, and second by defining, in predictable ways, how those elements relate to one another.  These standardization activities will promote transparency, flexibility, and consistency across various information technology platforms established by Federal and State agencies.

This bill continues the efforts begun in the bipartisan, bicameral Child and Family Services Improvement and Innovation Act of 2011, which was the first effort at requiring a human services program to implement standard data elements and reporting.  President Obama signed that bill into law on September 30, 2011.

H.R. 3339 was introduced with an additional 15 original cosponsors, including Representatives Darrell Issa (R-CA), John Lewis (D-GA), Wally Herger (R-CA), Devin Nunes (R-CA), Pat Tiberi (R-OH), Dave Reichert (R-WA), Charles Boustany (R-LA), Tom Price (R-GA), Lynn Jenkins (R-KS), Erik Paulsen (R-MN), Kenny Marchant (R-TX), Rick Berg (R-ND), Diane Black (R-TN), Tom Reed (R-NY) and James Lankford (R-OK).

Chairman Davis’ full statement on the bill introduction can be found here.