The freshman Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) acknowledging the heaps of attention he gets, joked when he keynoted the Gridiron Club dinner last March, `` When I actually do something, we'll let you know.''
Obama is poised to pass his first bill, which may actually become a law, co-sponsored with Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK.), mandating listing of federal contracts and grants be available on a searchable internet database.
On Friday, House Majority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) said the House will vote on the measure next week, meaning the bill will vault to the head of the legislative line. The Boehner announcement came after Obama an Coburn reached a deal with House Government Reform Chairman Tom Davis (R-Va.).
The Obama-Coburn version of the measure (final House-Senate language is not available) calls for the website to be in existence by Jan. 1, 2007 and to include the amount of federal funds received in the last ten years and to specifically identify the entity getting the money. At present, Congress appoves funding for projects that are impossible for the public--even members of Congress--to identify.
"I'm pleased that the House leadership agreed with us that all federal spending should be accessible through this website. It doesn't matter if it's a grant, an earmark, or a contract, this legislation will allow the public to know how their tax dollars are being spent," said Obama in a statement.
It is not known yet if the White House is prepared to back the proposal.
Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) had put a secret hold on this bill by Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) and Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla) calling for federal contracts to be in searchable internet databases.
But the secret was cracked and Stevens folded.
Still, many steps remain until this becomes a law.
There is no House counterpart legislation-though Obama spokesman Tommy Vietor said there are negotiations ongoing with Rep. Tom Davis (R-Va.).