June 25, 2014

Udall Welcomes Passage of Government IT Reform in Key Senate Committee

WASHINGTON - Today, U.S. Senator Tom Udall commended the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee for passing legislation that would require the first major overhaul of the government information technology (IT) procurement process in over a decade. Last year, Udall and Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) introduced bipartisan legislation to help modernize the government's computer and technology systems, cut waste to save billions of taxpayers' dollars, and prevent management and accountability problems that have plagued various federal IT initiatives, most recently HealthCare.gov. The committee-passed Federal Information Technology and Acquisition Reform Act includes significant provisions from Udall and Moran's legislation.

"The federal government's IT procurement has been hobbled by laws written in the days of floppy disks and telephone modems," Udall said. "This bill takes important steps to modernize the law, save taxpayers' money, and incorporate flexibility and accountability, and I'm very pleased to see it move forward. In the 21st century, the web should be a reliable way citizens can interact with their government - especially when it comes to something as serious as health insurance or taxes. I thank Chairman Carper, Ranking Member Coburn, Senator Moran and my House colleagues who have worked hard on this issue on both sides of the aisle, and I look forward to continuing to partner with them to pass these reforms into law."

"For years, the federal government has struggled to effectively manage large IT systems," said Senator Tom Carper, chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. "While much progress has been made over the years, more work remains to improve the way the federal government handles its massive IT portfolio. After thorough deliberation and compromise, my colleagues and I have developed bipartisan legislation that addresses many of the difficulties facing federal IT management today. With this substitute amendment, FITARA would change the status quo at agencies and enable the Chief Information Officer and require them to be a key agency leader in how an agency manages its IT systems and programs. At the same time, it would allow agencies to enhance transparency of their IT investments, reduce waste, and improve the management of IT acquisition funding and programs. I'd like to thank Senators Tom Udall and Jerry Moran, House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, and Congressman Gerry Connolly for their leadership on this issue."

Each year, the federal government spends about $80 billion on information technology. According to the Government Accountability Office (GAO), at least 154 major federal IT investments totaling $10.4 billion are at risk and in need of management attention. GAO has also found that federal IT reforms such as empowering Chief Information Officers (CIOs), consolidating federal data centers, and transitioning to cloud computing services could save billions of dollars.

The Federal Information Technology and Acquisition Reform Act would give additional responsibilities to CIOs of governmental agencies, enhance transparency and improve risk management in IT investments, create a government-wide software purchasing program and establish requirements for the federal data center consolidation initiative.

U.S. Reps. Darrell Issa (R-CA) and Gerry Connolly (D-VA) have introduced similar legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives.