E-Gov Act reauthorization begins

Although the law expires next month, lawmakers have only recently begun working on its reauthorization

Although significant parts of the E-Government Act of 2002 expire Dec. 17, Congress has only now begun considering its reauthorization.

Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.), chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee and coauthor of the original legislation, introduced a reauthorization measure Nov. 7, and the committee approved it Nov. 14.

The legislation now moves to the full Senate for a vote.

“We have had conversations with the House and the Office of Management and Budget,” a committee spokeswoman said.

“We are hopeful to get something done shortly.”

House lawmakers have not introduced a version of the bill. Rep. Tom Davis (R-Va.), co-author of the 2003 law, will begin considering a legislative update in the next few weeks, his spokesman said.

“We’ll be sitting down with Senate staff over the upcoming two-week break to discuss these and other matters,” said David Marin, minority spokesman for the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

The Senate has made “a great start with the e-gov bill, particularly by reauthorizing the Federal Information Security Management Act, e-gov funding and our governmentwide Information Technology Exchange Program.” However, he added, much has happened in the federal IT community since Congress passed the E-Government Act.

Marin said a recent spike in data breaches and rising public expectations of conducting transactions online highlight the importance of e-government. The Senate’s bill “serves as a great foundation for beginning some of these discussions on how to further develop the federal government’s IT capabilities,” he said.

OMB also is working with lawmakers to ensure the law’s renewal, said Clay Johnson, OMB’s deputy director for management. Karen Evans, OMB’s administrator for e-government and IT, has been meeting with Lieberman’s staff to work on specific provisions of the bill, he said.

When President Bush signed the E-Government Act on Dec. 17, 2002, it was the first major piece of IT legislation since the Clinger-Cohen Act of 1996. A new bill would extend nine provisions in that law from this year to 2012.

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