GSA's IT funding draws attention

GSA fiscal 2002 budget overview

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Congressional appropriators may not lavish their attention on the General Services Administration's information technology funding, but that does not mean that the small percentage of the agency's budget going to cross-government IT initiatives will be ignored.

Most of GSA's fiscal 2002 budget is slated for federal buildings improvements and design. But the funding requests of $3 million for the FirstGov governmentwide Web portal, $3 million for the Federal Computer Incident Response Center and $20 million for the administration's proposed e-government fund are still worthy of attention, said Rep. Ernest Istook (R-Okla.), chairman of the House Appropriations Committee's Treasury, Postal Service and General Government Subcommittee.

"I have questions regarding each of these items," Istook said.

Acting GSA Administrator Thurman Davis also highlighted the agency's IT efforts in his testimony before the subcommittee. His comments included the far-reaching impact of the IT procurement vehicles offered by the Federal Technology Service and the Federal Supply Service, and the efforts by both organizations to offer services through Internet buying sites.

The e-government fund, which the Bush administration plans to increase to $100 million over the next three years, will be held by GSA. But the Office of Management and Budget will administer disbursement of the funds, and Istook stated his intention to question OMB Director Mitchell Daniels Jr. on the fund in today's hearing on the agency's budget request because "OMB appears to have a unique role in the fund."

Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), ranking member on the subcommittee, also expressed his interest in the proposed IT money and on the entire concept of the e-government fund. These and Istook's questions were provided to GSA in written form and will be answered for the record, a spokeswoman said.

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