Issa gets the jump on Biden with transparency bill

House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) on Monday morning announced a bill creating a new government-transparency initiative an hour before Vice President Biden was to announce a similar effort.

The Issa DATA ACT would establish an independent body to track federal spending and will enter that information into a single database. The new body is based on the board created by the 2009 stimulus bill, which has been credited, by the GOP and Democrats alike, with preventing fraud and abuse of stimulus dollars. The effort is supposed to speed up the notoriously slow Freedom of Information Act process that currently gives the public access to government spending and contracts.

“Chairman Issa first met with Vice President Biden in November of last year to discuss spending transparency and using the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board as a model for building a transparent and accountable government,” a committee press releases states.

Biden is set to announce a transparency initiative, also based on the Recovery Act, at a White House event later Monday morning.

“Building on the successful execution of the Recovery Act, the vice president will discuss a new proposal to help federal agencies improve their performance and cut waste across government,” a White House announcement states.

It remains to be seen how the Biden effort differs from Issa’s bill. Issa will hold a hearing on his bill on Tuesday.