Agencies no longer pass on pass-the-hat funding, OMB says

CAMBRIDGE, Md.?The Office of Management and Budget has received commitments from 90 percent of federal agencies to implement and fund the 25 Quicksilver e-government projects.

Tim Young, OMB's associate administrator for e-government and IT, said yesterday at the Interagency Resources Management Conference 2005 here that CIOs and other executives have signed agreements to use the Quicksilver programs and authorize the transfer of funds for them.

"The agreements provide the initiatives more money at critical points of the fiscal year instead of at the end of the year," Young said during a panel discussion on federal IT. "Previously, initiatives received money at the end of the fiscal year."

Young added that about 40 percent of agreements were in place this time last year. That demonstrates agency buy-in for the e-government projects and pass-the-hat funding, he said.

OMB does not have the final 10 percent of the commitments because of congressional language restricting certain agencies, including the departments of Commerce and Interior, from funding cross-agency projects, he said. Commerce, for instance, cannot fund projects until they receive approval from lawmakers, whereas Interior is prohibited from funding two specific e-gov projects, Disaster Management and Safecom.

"We are working through those issues," Young said. "We are trying to improve the transparency of who signs the memo and how much each agency is contributing. We are doing that through outreach and reporting to the CIO and President's Management councils."

OMB also is working with Congress to define how these projects and other IT initiatives resonate with each member's constituents.

"It is about what's in it for them," Young said. "We haven't talked much about e-government and IT in those terms until lately."

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