Feds seek $5M for e-gov fund

Information technology is one of the few areas to get a boost in President Bush's fiscal 2006 budget request.

Federal officials are requesting $65.2 billion for IT spending in fiscal 2006, about a 7.1 percent increase over the $60.9 billion approved by Congress for the current fiscal year and a 9 percent gain from the administration's budget request for fiscal 2005.

Office of Management and Budget officials delivered the Bush administration's $840 billion budget proposal to Congress this morning. For 2005, legislators approved about $916 billion in discretionary spending, about 40 percent of the $2.4 trillion in government outlays this spending year.

In the fiscal 2006 budget proposal, OMB officials requested $5 million in congressional appropriations for the e-government fund, the same amount that Congress approved last year.

In addition, OMB officials want authority from Congress to spend $40 million on e-government initiatives using federal agency fees collected by the General Services Administration in the General Services Fund.

Lawmakers rejected the same $40 million request in the fiscal 2005 budget.

Other significant e-government spending proposals include $52.8 million for GSA's Office of Governmentwide Policy -- 15 percent less than the $62.1 million the office received in fiscal 2005. The office, which has played a significant role in formulating e-government policy, faced the possibility last year of 30 percent to 50 percent cuts during internal negotiations over the fiscal 2006 budget.

Within OMB, some officials with budget influence said at the time that GSA's e-government functions duplicate work being conducted by OMB's e-government and IT Office. A GSA spokeswoman said today she could not say which of GSA's IT functions will be affected by the proposed nearly $10 million cut.

GSA officials say they will spend $2.4 million through the Federal Supply Service for three e-government projects: e-Acquisition, e-Property and e-Travel. The amount is significantly less than the $15.6 million FSS spent in fiscal 2005 for e-government.

In addition, OMB officials want Congress to grant the General Service Administration's administrator permanent authority to spend up to$40 million annually on e-government initiatives using federal agency fees collected by the General Services Administration in the General Services Fund. That fund, which stores the 0.75 percent fee agencies pay for every GSA procurement transaction, is the new combination of GSA's General Supply and IT funds. The two are being merged as part of a larger GSA re-organization. Before spending any of the $40 million, the GSA administrator would be required to consult with OMB. GSA is the statutory administrator for the e-gov fund under the e-Gov Act of 2002.

Congress has until April 15 to pass a budget resolution by setting the spending ceiling for the fiscal year and distributing budget authority across 20 government functions, ranging from national defense to agriculture. If, as occurred last year, lawmakers fail to pass a timely budget resolution, congressional appropriators can begin work May 15 on annual spending bills. A move led by House members to cut the number of appropriations subcommittees from 13 to 10 should speed that traditionally slow-moving process, supporters of committee reform say.

About the Author

David Perera is a special contributor to Defense Systems.


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