Web extra: Lawmakers attach strings to IT funding

Agencies get money for IT projects, but Congress will be watching.

Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service received $3 million to operate and maintain the department’s Humane Animal Tracking System, which tracks animal handling and slaughter information as part of a public health data communication infrastructure system.Congress paid attention to small-business contracting, particularly to programs that help women-owned small businesses. The bill requires the Small Business Administration to direct $13 million to Women’s Business Centers, which help women-owned small business win federal contracts.The bill also requires SBA to give Small Business Development Centers $97.1 million. The Historically Underutilized Business Zone program will get $2.1 million, and veterans programs will receive $743,000.The Census Bureau will get $1 billion, a nearly $300 million increase compared with its fiscal 2007 appropriation. The additonal money is needed for final tests this year to prepare for the 2010 Census.Appropriators gave the U.S. Agency for International Development awarded $88 million to pay for overseas construction and information technology. In addition, lawmakers asked the State Department’s Office of the Inspector General to create a place on its home page where individuals can anonymously report on waste, fraud or abuse. Lawmakers stipulated that state must create a link from its home page to the IG Web site within a month of the fiscal 2008 budget taking effect. Shortly after Democratic lawmakers on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee questioned Howard Krongard, State’s IG, about his handling of investigations into incidents of alleged illegal activity by contractors working in Iraq and Afghanistan, he announced in December that he would step down Jan. 15.The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services will receive $45 million until September 2009 to pay for contract costs for the Healthcare Integrated General Ledger Accounting System and $193 million until September 2009 for Medicare contracting reform activities.The bill requires HUD to provide direct link to the Office of Inspector General’s site on the department’s home page and a mechanism for people to anonymously report cases of waste, fraud and abuse.
Agriculture Department

NASA
NASA faces increased scrutiny as the bill calls for an independent review board to curtail budget overruns and for the GAO to oversee the cost, schedule and performance of the agency’s research projects.


National Archives and Records Administration
NARA received more than $58 million for its Electronic Records Archives. That is $20 million more than lawmakers appropriated for 2006, the last time agreement on a new budget for the agency was approved.

Office of Personnel Management
OPM will receive continued funding for many of its human resources IT projects, including $6 million for the Enterprise Human Resource Integration project, $1.35 million for the Human Resources Line of Business, $340,000 for the E-Payroll project, and $170,000 for its E-Training program.


Lawmakers also allocated $26.9 million for automating the retirement recordkeeping system.

Transportation Department
DOT’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration will receive $25 million for its commercial vehicle information systems and networks deployment program, $5 million for a performance and registration information system management program, and $8 million for commercial driver’s license information modernization program.


Small Business Administration




Commerce Department


State Department and Agency for International Development






Health and Human Services Department




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