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Highlights

GAO was asked to update its 1989 report on the distribution of economic development funding using newer tools now available for measuring the distribution of federal funds to rural areas. GAO agreed to (1) identify federal economic development programs, (2) determine the best way to identify rural areas for this report, (3) determine the amount and share of economic development funding that rural areas receive, and (4) discuss the way federal agencies report data on economic development funding.

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Recommendations

Recommendations for Executive Action

Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Office of Management and Budget To better ensure that Census receives accurate funding information from federal agencies, OMB should consider improving its oversight of compliance with Federal Assistance Award Data System (FAADS) reporting requirements. The Director of the Office of Management and Budget should regularly reach out to individual agencies on FAADS reporting requirements and on ways to improve the quality of the data provided to Census.
Closed - Implemented
In May 2007,OMB reported that it had assessed program efforts to improve the accuracy and timeliness of data submitted to FAADS through assessing programs using the Program Assessment Rating Tool (PART)
Office of Management and Budget To better ensure that Census receives accurate funding information from federal agencies, OMB should consider improving its oversight of compliance with FAADS reporting requirements. The Director of the Office of Management and Budget should amend its guidance to require agency officials to certify the accuracy and completeness of their FAADS data reported to Census.
Closed - Implemented
On March 6, 2008, OMB published a memo to all federal agencies announcing the Federal Funding Accountabilty and Transparency Act Guidelines. The guidelines discuss the Federal Procurement Data System (FPDS) and the Federal Assistance Award Database (FAADS)systems and call on all federal agencies to redouble efforts to improve data quality, as much of the data submitted in the past has been incomplete, untimely, and inaccurate. The guidelines also call for agencies to ensure appropriate oversight is provided over the accuracy and timeliness of the process, and that submissions are validated by an appropriate official.
Office of Management and Budget To better ensure that Census receives accurate funding information from federal agencies, OMB should consider improving its oversight of compliance with FAADS reporting requirements. The Director of the Office of Management and Budget should provide support to Census with its work in notifying agencies that do not report or significantly misreport their FAADS data.
Closed - Implemented
OMB told us in May 2007 that it works closely with Census to follow up with agences that do not report on a timely basis or significantly misreports their FAADS data. For example, at Census request, OMB organized 2 meetings in 2005 to instruct agencies on their responsibility to submit FAADS data and to do a better job in reporting to FAADS. At those 2 meetings, OMB said it provided background information about why the data was so important, how it is used, what the CFDA number is all about, ,and discussed specific data elements that were problematic for the agencies (such as congressional districts).

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