White House threatens veto over anti-PMA appropriations language

White House senior advisers are threatening to recommend President Bush veto the Transportation, Treasury, Housing and Urban Development, the Judiciary, the District of Columbia and Independent Agencies fiscal 2006 appropriations bill if it includes a provision that restricts the use of discretionary funds for e-government projects.

The Office of Management and Budget today issued a Statement of Administration Policy telling House lawmakers that language in the bill would “further weaken the President’s Management Agenda [PMA].”

The House currently is debating the bill on the floor.

The House’s language is another in a series of efforts to limit how much of discretionary funds agencies spend on e-government projects. This comes after legislators for the fifth straight year did not meet the President’s request of $5 million for the E-Government Fund, and for the second consecutive year did not let the General Services Administration reprogram $40 million from the Federal Supply Service for these presidential initiatives.

The administration also expressed concern about language, or potential language, that takes aim at its public-private competition initiative under OMB Circular A-76.

The bill includes a provision that would “effectively shut down the current iteration” of A-76 or “reverse competitions that already have been completed,” the administration said.

The administration said it would work closely with the House to “find the best way to implement the PMA,” but if these provisions remained, a veto is a strong possibility.

Bush has never vetoed an appropriations bill over PMA language in the five years he’s been in office. OMB, though, has negotiated much of what it considered negative language out of the bills.

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