Senate drops restrictive e-gov language from spending bill

The Senate Appropriations Subcommittee did not follow the House’s lead in restricting how agencies contribute money to e-government projects.

Members of the subcommittee earlier this week marked up the fiscal 2006 Transportation, Treasury, the Judiciary, Housing and Urban Development and other related agencies spending bill and kept the same provision as last year, which asks agencies to submit a justification and notification plan 10 days before the transfer of money for e-government projects is completed.

The House version of the bill includes more restrictive language that would force the Office of Management and Budget to submit a report 15 days prior to transfer of funds for approval outlining why and how the funds will be used.

But the Senate subcommittee decided against the same restrictive language.

“This is more consistent with the majority of reporting requirements in the bill,” said a subcommittee staff member who requested anonymity.

The full committee will vote on the bill today. The full Senate then must pass the bill; after that, lawmakers will go to conference to iron out differences.

The subcommittee also fully funded the administration’s $5 million request for the E-Government Fund. The House earmarked $3 million.

The subcommittee also supported the General Services Administration’s E-Travel program, and fully funded the Transportation Department’s CIO office and HUD’s Working Capital Fund. The House cut or placed restrictive language on these areas in its version of the spending bill.

Additionally, the Senate subcommittee met the administration’s request of $199 million for the IRS business systems modernization program.

And finally, the Senate did compromise on language that would require vendors bidding on commercial federal jobs to demonstrate a savings of at least 10 percent or $10 million over the federal employees’ bid. The provision, sponsored by Sens. Christopher Bond (R-Mo.) and Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), would expand a Defense Department requirement governmentwide.

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