Senate gives VA full IT budget; House offers less
House and Senate lawmakers are moving closer to agreement on a final number for the fiscal 2012 IT budget for the Veterans Affairs Department, but they are not there yet.
House lawmakers passed the Military Construction/VA spending bill June 14. It would trim VA's IT budget for fiscal 2012 by 4 percent — to $3.03 billion.
But the Senate appears poised to replace some of that funding. The Senate Appropriations Committee has allocated the full $3.16 billion that the department requested for its IT efforts. The committee approved the bill June 30, but the full Senate has not yet voted on it.
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Assuming the Senate approves the committee’s bill, the next step would
be negotiation between members of both chambers on whether to maintain
the $140 million cutback promoted by the House, adopt the Senate
committee’s version or find some middle ground for the official
allocation for fiscal 2012.
The House bill also stipulates that VA
officials must submit a detailed plan to Congress that complies with all
planning and investment control requirements, the department's
enterprise architecture, all acquisition rules, and life cycle
management principles. In addition, the bill orders VA to submit
detailed information on any reprogramming of funds.
committee said its budget bill would fully fund VA's request to support
development of electronic health records, paperless claims systems, and
seamless integration of medical and service records with the Defense
Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.