Senate curbs e-gov in Commerce, Justice spending bill

Senate lawmakers followed their House counterparts yesterday in approving appropriations language that restricts spending on e-government projects in fiscal 2006. The language is part of the Senate appropriations bill for the Commerce and Justice departments, and science and related agencies.

Like corresponding House legislation, the Senate spending bill limits federal agencies’ power to transfer money to fund e-government projects.

The language, approved on the Senate floor by a 91 to 4 vote, prohibits agencies from transferring money to funds used to create or eliminate programs, reorganize programs or activities, or contract out or privatize any function or activity that federal employees perform, without giving congressional appropriations committees 15 days’ notice.

Although the Senate bill requires agencies to notify only Congress, many interpret that to mean, “Wait for approval.”

Commerce, for example, which has operated under the same restrictions in the current fiscal year, transferred no money to fund e-government projects, even after the 15 days’ notification period elapsed.

The Senate bill also includes a recommendation that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration not spend any money in fiscal 2006 on e-government projects.

About the Author

David Perera is a special contributor to Defense Systems.

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