Revised e-gov bill achieved

E-Government Act of 2001

Sen. Joe Lieberman (D-Conn.) is pushing ahead with a revised e-government bill that calls for spending $345 million over four years and would establish an administrator to head an e-government office at the Office of Management and Budget.

The amended E-Government Act of 2001 is the result of months of negotiations with the administration and Sen. Fred Thompson (R-Tenn.), the ranking member on the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee, which is scheduled to consider the bill March 21.

"This is not just money and an office. It's a comprehensive framework for implementing e-gov throughout federal agencies," said Leslie Phillips, a spokeswoman for Lieberman. "This is a major initiative that Sen. Lieberman started two years ago by opening a Web site, and he's extremely pleased that we've received this level of agreement."

Lieberman introduced the e-government bill last year, calling for spending $200 million a year over three years and the establishment of a federal chief information officer.

But Lieberman's bill failed to get the support of the administration, which opposed the spending levels as well as a governmentwide CIO.

The amended legislation calls for authorizing money for e-government in steps:

* Fiscal 2003 -- $45 million.

* Fiscal 2004 -- $50 million.

* Fiscal 2005 -- $100 million.

* Fiscal 2006 - $150 million.

The bill would establish an electronic government office within OMB that would be headed by an administrator confirmed by the Senate.

It also would authorize a federal Internet portal and earmark $15 million for fiscal 2003 to run it. The Bush administration has earmarked $9.5 million in its fiscal 2003 budget request for FirstGov, the federal government's portal site.

Congress appropriated $5 million for e-government initiatives in the fiscal 2002 budget, and the administration already is seeking $45 million in the fiscal 2003 budget.

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