Grants Policy Overview
The Federal Grants and Cooperative Agreement Act of 1977, 31 U.S.C. §§ 6301-6308, (FGCAA) was created to promote a better understanding of United States Government expenditures and help eliminate unnecessary administrative requirements on recipients of Government awards by characterizing the relationship between executive agencies and contractors, States, local governments, and other recipients in acquiring property and services and in providing United States Government assistance. The Act prescribes criteria for executive agencies in selecting appropriate legal instruments to achieve uniformity in their use by executive agencies; a clear definition of the relationships they reflect; and a better understanding of the responsibilities of the parties to them. The Act promotes increased discipline in selecting and using procurement contracts, grant agreements, and cooperative agreements, maximize competition in making procurement contracts, and encourage competition in making grants and cooperative agreements. For more information about the Act, click on this OMB Grants and Contracts Guide issued in 1978.
In order to provide federal assistance, there must be statutory authority to make an award and funding available at the time of the award. For more information about Commerce Department programmatic authority to provide federal assistance click on this Commerce Deparment Financial Assistance Program Statutory Authorities link.
To improve the effectiveness and performance of Federal financial assistance programs, simplify application and reporting requirements for federal assistance, improve the delivery of services to the public, and facilitate greater coordination among those responsible for delivering such services, Congress passed the Federal Financial Assistance Management Improvement Act of 1999, Pub. L. No. 106-107, 113 Stat. 1486. (FFAMIA). There is also the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006, Pub.L. No. 109-282, 120 Stat.1186 (FFATA) which builds on efforts to increase accountability and public availability of information on federal spending.
In May 2014, the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act of 2014 (DATA Act), Pub. L. No. 113-101, 128 Stat.1146, was signed into law with the purpose to establish government-wide financial data standards and increase the availability, accuracy, and usefulness of federal spending information. The DATA Act is an expansion of the FFATA.
The HQ Grants Management Division Office of Acquisition Management provides the Commerce Department's federal assistance policy for grants and cooperative agreements. The Department of Commerce's GMD OAM webpage has important grants and cooperative agreements policy documents and information.