New federal IT reform bill introduced in Senate
Despite the Federal IT Acquisition Reform Act getting nixed from the defense bill, the movement to strengthen the role of agency chief information officer and transform the IT procurement process is still very much alive.
On Dec. 17, two members of the House Appropriations Committee, Sens. Tom Udall, D-N.M., and Jerry Moran, R-Kan., introduced the Federal Information Technology Savings, Accountability, and Transparency Act. The bill is essentially the same as Title I of FITARA, which passed as an amendment to the defense bill in the House.
The newly introduced bill would help modernize government technology and computer systems, which lag behind the private sector, according to a release by Udall’s office. It would also give much more authority to CIOs, making the post a presidential appointment and giving them more discretionary control over spending.
“The systemically flawed rollout of healthcare.gov is one high-profile example of IT procurement failures, but numerous more projects incur cost overruns, project delays and are abandoned altogether,” Moran said in a release. “These examples of waste come at a cost of billions of dollars to American taxpayers. Our bill will help the federal government transition into the 21st century in a fiscally responsible fashion by optimizing its use of IT.”
This bill aims to implement several recent Government Accountability Office recommendations that highlight IT investment shortcomings and inefficiencies. According to GAO, at least 154 major federal IT investments valued at $10.4 billion are at risk and in need of attention by management.
The legislation would also improve the transparency and expanding the scope of the federal IT Dashboard and the Office of Management and Budget’s public website for federal IT spending.
“We have an urgent need to modernize the law and especially to incorporate flexibility and accountability,” Udall said in the release. “I want to make sure that in the 21st century, citizens can depend on the web to interact with their government – especially when it comes to something as serious as health care insurance or taxes.”
So far, there hasn’t been any news on when or if Reps. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., and Darrell Issa, R-Calif., will be reintroducing FITARA as a standalone bill.