GSA bolsters e-gov fund

The General Services Administration is proposing to bolster President Bush's $5 million e-government fund request in the fiscal 2005 budget with $40 million in fees collected from agencies that buy products and services off of GSA's purchasing vehicles.

The $40 million would otherwise be returned to the Treasury Department, said Debi Schilling, GSA budget director. GSA projects a $75 million surplus in its general supply fund in 2005, so $35 million would still be returned to the Treasury, she said.

Last year, Bush requested $45 million for the e-gov fund, but Congress appropriated $5 million. The fund is used to pay for some of the government's 24 cross-agency information technology projects.

"The administration has not been successful in getting appropriated money, and with discretionary spending declining, this seemed to everyone to be a useful way to use funds that would otherwise go back to the Treasury," Schillling said.

The idea to spend GSA fee money on e-government came out of budget discussions with officials at the Office of Management and Budget this fall, Schilling said. OMB officials would decide which e-gov projects would share in the $40 million, she said.

Under law, GSA can use the general supply fund to pay for e-government projects that advance its work, such as e-travel and the integrated acquisition environment. Congressional approval will be required to spend the money on e-gov projects outside GSA's domain, Schilling said.

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