The GRANT Act, H.R. 3433 the Grant Reform and New Transparency Act of 2011, seeks to establish new standards for awarding federal grants. It would require agencies to base award decisions merit-based procedures and to evaluate the prospective awardee’s ability to successfully carry out the grant before awarding it. It requires establishing a public website for finding federal grant opportunities and award information – including application deadlines, standard eligibility criteria and available funds, etc.; copies of the award notice; the proposal, applilcation or plan; selection criteria such as numerical rankings by reviewer if used; the name, title and employer of each peer reviewer or other reviewer of the proposal. The Act also requires a plan for improving the single audit process.
The Congressional Budget Office recently determined that implementing the GRANT Act would result in minimal additional costs – less than $1 million per year over the 2012-2017 period, primarily from preparig additional reports and updating agency web sites.
It appears the CBO may have missed the costs associated with establishing the single portal site for all opportunitiy and award information (this would be a significant extension of the current Grants.gov site) – not to mention the annual operating costs for Grants.gov.
Perhaps the most serious concerns with the GRANT Act are those associated with required posting of proposals and peer reviewers associated with awards. The GRANT Acti has not moved forward since it was Reported by Committee on Nov 17, 2011.