The Obama administration’s open-government initiatives could be virtually eliminated under some changes made in the continuing resolution aimed at keeping the government running, the Sunlight Foundation said on Tuesday.
Compromises being made in the spending bill approved by the House and considered by the Senate would almost eliminate funding for the Electronic Government Fund, cutting it from $34 million to $2 million, the nonprofit open-government think tank said.
House and Senate leaders are struggling to reach agreement on a bill that would fund the federal government for the rest of fiscal year 2011 and satisfy demands from some lawmakers for deeper spending cuts.
The Electronic Government Fund provides money for sites such as USASpending.gov, which tracks government contracts, and Data.gov, which provides access to government data.
Sunlight wrote an open letter late on Monday urging lawmakers not to slash funding for the federal government’s transparency programs.
“An open and accountable government is a prerequisite for democracy. Keeping these programs alive would cost a mere pittance when compared to the value of bringing the federal government into the sunlight,” the foundation's letter stated. “As you consider the budget for the remainder of this year, please sustain funding for these vital transparency programs.”