E-gov fund to have high standards

Agencies that would like to tap into President Bush's proposed $100 million e-government fund should expect their proposals to undergo a "fairly comprehensive scrub," an Office of Management and Budget official said Wednesday.

Jasmeet Seehra, senior policy analyst at OMB's Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, said her office has received numerous calls from agencies inquiring about the fund, what the selection criteria will be and how funds will be distributed. She spoke at a FedWeb conference forum in Bethesda, Md., on the role of the World Wide Web in the Bush administration.

The fund is in its formative stages—as is the rest of Bush's budget—and more details will come when the appendix to the budget is issued next month, Seehra said. Bush's blueprint was released last week.

The fund likely will have a staffing level that's initially similar to what was provided for during Year 2000 remediation efforts, Seehra said, adding that Congress will have a major say in what projects receive funding. As with Year 2000, appropriators won't fund projects that they feel do not strongly support agency objectives, she said.

Seehra also said that OMB will continue to press agencies to follow internal reviews for new projects and that agencies will have to have a good capital planning process in place to expect e-gov funding.

The e-gov fund will support interagency projects, such as the FirstGov Web portal, and initiatives to support the delivery of services, such as public-key infrastructure to enable secure electronic transactions.

The General Services Administration will host the fund, which will grow to $100 million over the next three years. But OMB will control the money, under the deputy director for management.

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