E-government fund could be cut, group warns
The e-gov fund pays for Data.gov, USASpending.gov, FedSpace and other GSA programs
Federal transparency programs that include Data.gov and USASpending.gov would have their budgets drop sharply during the next six months under the fiscal 2011 budget packages in Congress, an advocacy group said today.
The General Services Administration is requesting $34 million for the Electronic Government Fund for fiscal 2012, the same level as fiscal 2010.
But that $34 million would be reduced to $2 million for the remainder of the fiscal year under two separate pieces of fiscal 2011 budget legislation, according to the Sunlight Foundation, a transparency advocacy group.
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The $2 million figure for e-government is included in both the fiscal 2011 budget bill passed by the House in February and in a separate fiscal 2011 budget bill under consideration by the Senate this month, Sunlight said. Meanwhile, under ongoing legislation, fiscal 2010 spending levels are maintained for ongoing spending.
Calling it a “Budget Technopocalypse,” Sunlight Policy Counsel Daniel Schuman wrote in the group's blog today that the proposed reduction would harm transparency efforts, including Data.gov and USASpending.gov, as well as online collaboration for federal employees in FedSpace and engagement tools in Challenge.gov.
“There is reason for alarm,” Schuman wrote. “The unsettled financial climate means that we can expect this funding fight to continue."
The fund is administered by Federal CIO Vivek Kundra, who allocates the e-government money among several program areas.
According to the White House’s IT Dashboard, Data.gov has cost $8.3 million and USASpending.gov has cost $13.3 million.
According to the GSA’s spending request for fiscal 2012, the program areas paid for by the e-government fund are:
- Federal cloud computing services, including infrastructure as a service, software as a service and platform as a service.
- The Citizens Engagement Platform and Web 2.0 account provide tools for public dialogue, new media and engagement, including a Citizen Services Delivery Dashboard and Challenge.gov.
- Implementation of the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act, including USASpending.gov and several online dashboards.
- The Efficient Federal Workforce initiative to support collaboration platforms, including Fedspace.gov.
- Accessible and transparent government information through Data.gov.
Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.