Lawmakers reintroduce legislation to consolidate agency software procurement
Senate lawmakers have reintroduced bipartisan legislation that would mandate the consolidation of federal agency software licenses and compel government agencies to provide more information about their software purchases.
Sponsored by Sens. Gary Peters, D-Mich., and Bill Cassidy, R-La., the bill is intended to give the White House and the General Service Administration additional powers to oversee federal technology spending.
A companion bill to the legislation has been introduced in the House of Representatives, which is sponsored by Rep. Cartwright, D-PA, and a bipartisan group of 10 other members.
It replicates the Strengthening Agency Management and Oversight of Software Assets Act (SAMOSAA), which was introduced by the same lawmakers in September but wasn’t passed before the last session of Congress ended. Details of SAMOSAA proposals were first revealed by FedScoop.
If it progresses, the latest proposed legislation would build on the Megabyte Act, which was enacted in 2016 and compelled agencies to report licensing information on software contracts struck with technology companies. Since it passed into law, that legislation to a degree has increased lawmakers’ visibility of what IT services federal agencies are using.
Commenting on the latest proposed bill, Sen. Peters said: “Improving how the government manages something as simple as the software they buy can help save taxpayers in the long run.”
“Taxpayers expect us to be responsible with their money,” he added. “The government should not be overpaying for software when the same product is available for less.”
Sen. Cassidy said: “Taxpayers expect us to be responsible with their money. The government should not be overpaying for software when the same product is available for less … [t]his bill requires agencies to spend their money as if a taxpayer was spending their own money—wisely.”
The legislation is supported by several technology industry trade groups including the Computer and Communications Industry Association, the Alliance for Digital Innovation, the Coalition for Fair Software Licensing and NetChoice.
The trade groups sent a letter to the majority and minority leaders of both chambers, calling on them to progress the legislation.
Editor’s note: This story was updated to include details of the House companion bill and the letter from tech industry groups.