House appropriators limit e-gov funding

Congressional opposition to the Bush administration's e-government projects has persisted, despite hopes that the Democrats now in control would be more sympathetic to the efforts.

In a report accompanying the fiscal 2008 Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Act (H.R. 2829), which advanced to the full House Tuesday, appropriators expressed concern that the Office of Management and Budget could use e-government initiatives to "force its management priorities on agencies that would otherwise choose different approaches to serving the public."

The bill would reduce the administration's $5 million request for the interagency e-government fund to $2.97 million -- the same as the fiscal 2007 level. It would not allow OMB to use a $40 million surplus from the General Services Administration's acquisition services fund to finance e-government initiatives.

"The committee refuses to relinquish oversight of the development and procurement of information technology projects of the various agencies under its jurisdiction," the report stated. "The committee continues the provision concerning the use of funds for the 'e-Gov' initiative that were not appropriated specifically for that purpose."

Lawmakers also urged OMB and agencies to work with individual appropriations subcommittees in advance of recommending interagency funding transfers for e-government projects.

In a statement of administration policy Tuesday, OMB raised objections to the e-government-related language and encouraged Congress to fund President Bush's full requests in that area. The administration also asked lawmakers to let agencies transfer a total of $17 million to GSA's Office of Governmentwide Policy account to support the initiatives.

OMB stated that the 1996 Clinger-Cohen Act and the 2002 E-Government Act require agencies to work together as a single unit to reduce duplicative information technology investments while improving service at a lower cost.

"OMB will work directly with the individual subcommittees so that initiatives can move forward without disruption," the statement pledged. "The administration also requests that Congress allow OMB's e-government report to fulfill all reprogramming procedures and requirements for e-government initiatives in this or any other appropriations act."

The president has threatened to veto the appropriations bill, but over language weakening sanctions against Cuba and changing policies on abortion rather than the e-government restrictions.

Previous appropriations bills containing restrictions on e-government funding have drawn veto threats, but OMB has never followed through. After years of battling Congress on the matter, OMB appears to have backed away from the strategy of requiring interagency transfers of funding for governmentwide IT projects.

Rather than pushing agencies to consolidate IT systems, OMB has now endorsed a strategy that involves the creation of governmentwide price and performance measures - centered specifically on desktop management and support, data centers and telecommunication networks.

On Tuesday GSA announced the award of a $22 million contract to Gartner Inc. to develop performance metrics and establish baseline data on agency management of backend IT systems. The measurements will look at service levels and cost efficiency.

The contract has one base year and four one-year options. It is part of OMB's IT infrastructure optimization line of business, which seeks to minimize agencies' costs of managing backend systems.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
Close [ x ] More from GovExec

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by G Suite

    Cross-Agency Teamwork, Anytime and Anywhere

    Dan McCrae, director of IT service delivery division, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.

  • Federal IT Applications: Assessing Government's Core Drivers

    In order to better understand the current state of external and internal-facing agency workplace applications, Government Business Council (GBC) and Riverbed undertook an in-depth research study of federal employees. Overall, survey findings indicate that federal IT applications still face a gamut of challenges with regard to quality, reliability, and performance management.

  • PIV- I And Multifactor Authentication: The Best Defense for Federal Government Contractors

    This white paper explores NIST SP 800-171 and why compliance is critical to federal government contractors, especially those that work with the Department of Defense, as well as how leveraging PIV-I credentialing with multifactor authentication can be used as a defense against cyberattacks

  • Toward A More Innovative Government

    This research study aims to understand how state and local leaders regard their agency’s innovation efforts and what they are doing to overcome the challenges they face in successfully implementing these efforts.

  • From Volume to Value: UK’s NHS Digital Provides U.S. Healthcare Agencies A Roadmap For Value-Based Payment Models

    The U.S. healthcare industry is rapidly moving away from traditional fee-for-service models and towards value-based purchasing that reimburses physicians for quality of care in place of frequency of care.

  • GBC Flash Poll: Is Your Agency Safe?

    Federal leaders weigh in on the state of information security


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.