Senate trims e-gov budget request

The Senate last week squashed the administration's request of $45 million for an e-government fund for fiscal 2003, and allocated just $5 million?the same amount as in 2002.

Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska), chairman of the Appropriations Committee, introduced an omnibus spending bill that included the decrease.

Lawmakers had authorized $45 million for the fund through the E-Government Act of 2002, but as Senate appropriators pared spending, the e-government fund came under the axe. The requested funds would have supported the 25 Quicksilver e-government projects.

The House also appropriated $5 million for e-government under the Treasury and General Government bill. Should the Senate number stick, the administration's plans of spending $100 million on e-government between 2002 and 2004 would be in serious jeopardy.

Lawmakers still would have to negotiate the bill in conference because of differences over who should manage the funds. The Senate wants the General Services Administration to manage it, but the House wants the Office of Management and Budget to dole it out, said a House Appropriations staff member.

The staff member added the administration has not made a formal request to the Appropriations Committee to increase the e-government fund to the $45 million level authorized.

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