House e-gov bill clears Government Reform Committee

Rep. Tom Davis, R-Va., sponsor of the e-gov bill before Congress.

The House version of the E-government Act of 2002, H.R. 2458, was approved by voice vote of the House Government Reform Committee Oct. 9.

The bill codifies a new Office of E-government within the Office of Management and Budget and includes appropriations for an e-government fund that increase from $45 million in 2003 to $150 million in 2006.

The House and Senate are negotiating to resolve differences between H.R. 2458 and the Senate version of the bill, S. 803. The Senate bill calls for the top e-government official to be Senate-confirmed; the House bill does not. The two bodies also are negotiating about share-in-savings contracting, which the House bill authorizes on a limited basis, said David Marin, spokesman for Rep. Tom Davis, R-Va. Davis is chairman of the House Government Reform subcommittee on technology and procurement policy.

"We hope to bring the bill to the House floor as soon as possible," Marin said.

The bill also authorizes the use of share-in-savings contracts governmentwide. Under this contract type, IT contractors provide the technology up front and are paid from the savings their agency customers realize after implementation. Agencies keep some savings above what they pay their contractors. Compromise language approved by the House Government Reform Committee limited the authorization to IT contracts.

The House bill also includes:

* A screening board in a new Office of E-Government to assess cutting-edge technologies that will facilitate interagency cooperation.

* A program to evaluate and provide monetary awards for cutting-edge anti-terrorism technologies, H.R. 4629.

* Provisions of Title V of the Services Acquisition Reform Act of 2002 that allow state and local governments to buy off the General Services Administration federal supply schedules for automated data processing equipment, software, supplies, support equipment and services. A provision exempting IT products from the Trade Agreements Act was removed. The exemption will be revisited next year, Marin said.

* The Federal Information Security Management Act, H.R. 3844, which reauthorizes and strengthens the Government Information Security Reform Act. GISRA expires in November.

*The Digital Tech Corps Act, H.R. 3925, which passed the House as a standalone bill April 10. The provision provides for an exchange of mid-level IT staff between private sector organization and government agencies. Exchanges would last six to 24 months, and participants would retain pay and benefits from their prospective employers while on Tech Corps assignment. Language was added to the bill that prohibits private-sector employees from working on trade secrets while working in the government if those trade secrets relate to their private-sector work.


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