IT oversight bill fails, despite White House interest

As the Obama administration moves to reform the government’s management of IT spending, one piece of bipartisan legislation with similar aims failed to pass in the 111th Congress. The now-defunct bill would have required independent cost estimates for IT projects prone to mismanagement. It had garnered the interest of key White House officials.

The IT Investment Oversight Enhancement and Waste Prevention Act of 2009 (S. 920) would have subjected federal IT projects to additional reporting and monitoring requirements. Sens. Tom Carper (D-Del.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) co-authored the legislation.

The Senate unanimously approved the bill in May 2010, but the House didn’t take up the measure before the end of the last Congress. A House Oversight and Government Reform Committee spokesperson said House members were concerned about the bill’s cost — an estimated $150 million from 2010 to 2014, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

When the White House unveiled its plan to overhaul IT management in December, federal CIO Vivek Kundra said the Obama administration was already working with Congress on ways to institutionalize the reforms, and he specifically mentioned S. 920.

The bill would have given the Office of Management and Budget the ability to send a team of IT experts to respond to project problems and would have required agencies to alert Congress when an IT project exceeded its cost estimates.

Elements of the IT oversight legislation were incorporated into the Defense Authorization Act signed earlier this month.

Carper plans to continue working on legislative proposals to reduce IT waste, according to a spokesperson for the lawmaker.

About the Author

Alyah Khan is a staff writer covering IT policy.

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