Fiscal bills loaded with IT spending, caveats

Lawmakers have been hustling in the past few weeks to wrap up important appropriations bills, turning out hundreds of pages of legislation with provisions for information technology-related spending. Combat readiness and homeland security fared well after lawmakers finally agreed on provisions for the fiscal 2005 Defense Authorization bill and the Homeland Security Department's fiscal 2005 budget.

Other pending legislation contains additional provisions that could shape the future of e-government and governmentwide IT planning in fiscal 2005 and beyond. Click on the stories in the "Related Links" box on the right to read more.

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Homeland Security conference report approved by the Senate Oct. 11:

Would give the Homeland Security Department an added $896 million in discretionary spending.

Would require DHS officials to define baseline standards for first responder training, equipment and other resources by Jan. 31, 2005.

Would earmark $5 million for the creation of a Rural Domestic Preparedness Consortium, which would take a regional approach to training rural first responders.

Defense Authorization bill approved by the House and Senate Oct. 8:

Would give federal employees the limited option of appealing competitive sourcing decisions with the Government Accountability Office.

Would drop a provision that would have prevented Defense Departmentofficials from using contracts run by the General Services Administration's Federal Technology Service.

Would require DOD and GSA inspectors general to ensure that FTS centers follow DOD acquisition rules when making purchases for department customers.

Would give commanders rapid acquisition authority, allowing them to purchase equipment in 15 days from request to award.

Would give the Army $2.9 billion for the Future Combat System, which is $272 million less than officials requested and is tied to strict oversight.

Would limit spending to modernize DOD bus-iness systems to $1 million unless the systems are critical to national security.

Transportation, Treasury and Independent Agencies appropriations passed by the House Sept. 22:

An attached report would eliminate the position of the Office of Management and Budget's chief architect.

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