Lawmaker holds up database spending bill

Legislation that would establish a massive database to track all kinds of federal spending is running into political roadblocks in Congress.

According to sources on Capitol Hill, Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) has placed an indefinite hold on S. 2590, the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006 , which would require the Office of Management and Budget to create and maintain a searchable database containing information on federal contracts, subcontracts, grants, subgrants, loans and other financial assistance.

Members of Congress can place a hold on any piece of legislation, preventing it from being voted on by their chamber.

The legislation is co-sponsored by Sens. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Barack Obama (D-Ill.). It was passed by the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee before Congress' August recess, but political observers predict that the bill might have trouble getting out of the full Senate.

Coburn's office has made "repeated" attempts to discuss the legislation with Stevens, but thus far the lawmakers have not communicated, said Coburn's spokesman John Hart.

A spokesman for Stevens was traveling from Alaska and was unable to be reached for comment.

Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.) also had placed a hold on the bill but dropped his opposition late last week, his office said in a statement. Byrd indicated he wanted more time to read and understand the legislation before bringing it to the Senate floor for a vote by the full chamber.

Rob Thormeyer is a staff writer for Washington Technology's sister publication, Government Computer News.

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