House reform committee could change how government IT is handled

Under the leadership of incoming chairman Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), the House Government Reform Committee may alter how it handles federal IT, viewing IT more as a policy tool instead of an industry sector fundamental to accelerating the transformation of government.

The way in which Waxman reorganized the committee reflects that, according to Bob Woods, president of Topside Consulting and a former Federal Technology Service commissioner in the General Services Administration.

"The setup of the information policy subcommittee implies IT as a bigger set of policy issues [rather] than a key component of industry," Woods said. "Waxman is more policy-oriented toward the information side than the IT side, more the 'I' side of IT."

Waxman has proposed a Subcommittee on Information Policy, Census and National Archives, according to a letter sent last week to committee members about the reorganization.

"My goal is to consolidate the jurisdictions of some of the subcommittees so that the jurisdiction of each subcommittee will have broad appeal and will engage the attention of the subcommittee members," Waxman said.

No other details about the committee's plans are set yet, according to Waxman spokeswoman Karen Lightfoot.

Outgoing committee chairman Rep. Tom Davis (R-Va.) disbanded the Subcommittee on Technology, Information Policy, Intergovernmental Relations and the Census in 2004. He then elevated oversight of IT issues to the full committee.

In addition to information policy, other new subcommittees proposed by Waxman include panels on:
  • Government Management, Organization and Procurement, including property and intergovernmental relations
  • Federal Workforce, Post Office and the District of Columbia
  • Domestic Policy, including Office of National Drug Control Policy and
  • National Security and International Relations.

Subcommittees that existed under the chairmanship of Davis (R-Va.) were:
  • Federalism and the Census
  • Government Management, Finance and Accountability
  • Federal Workforce and Agency Organization
  • Regulatory Affairs
  • National Security, Emerging Threats and International Relations
  • Criminal Justice, Drug Policy and Human Resources and
  • Energy and Resources.

Mary Mosquera is a staff writer for Washington Technology's affiliate publication, Government Computer News.

About the Author

Mary Mosquera is a reporter for Federal Computer Week.

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