Bush seeks merger of two GSA funds

The Bush administration is again petitioning Congress to merge the Information Technology Fund and the General Supply Fund into the Acquisition Services Fund, GSA budget director Debi Schilling said at a media conference today. The fiscal 2006 budget proposed the same merger, but the House Government Reform Committee removed the measure from the legislation last year.

In its reorganization, the GSA has already fused its Federal Technology Service and its Federal Supply Service to form the Federal Acquisition Service. Agency officials have said it no longer makes sense to have separate funds for IT and other types of acquisitions. Merging the ITF and the GSF is an important component of the agency’s ongoing reorganization, officials said.

GSA's overall fiscal 2007 IT spending budget request totals $546 million, according to the Office of Management and Budget's Exhibit 53, which lists the departments' and agencies' total IT spending. Last year, Congress gave GSA $557 million for IT.

The president’s budget requests $22.4 billion for GSA's programs. About $205 million would go for the agency’s directly funded programs such as FirstGov.gov, a recently launched government search engine, Schilling said.

From the $205 million requested, $5 million would go to e-government funding. The GSA asked for the same amount in fiscal 2006. Congress, however, gave the agency less than $3 million. Congress has leveled GSA’s e-government funding, giving it only $6,000 more in fiscal 2006 than in 2005, according to the GSA documents.

GSA officials have requested that OMB allow them to use $40 million in revenues for various e-government initiatives, Schilling said. OMB must give its approval for the funding transfer, and it would have the authority to decide which projects get the money.

The $205 million funding request is approximately 1 percent of GSA’s total budget. The agency also requested $245 million for the Federal Buildings Fund. The other 98 percent of GSA’s budget comes from customer-requested work that is funded under reimbursements from purchases for goods and services or from rent for using buildings owned and leased by GSA, Schilling said.

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