Senate gives $5M to E-Government Fund

The Senate increased the E-Government Fund’s spending ceiling to $5 million for fiscal 2007, matching President Bush’s budget request, after the House had lowered the amount to $3 million.

Moreover, the Senate Appropriations Committee intends for the funding included in H.R. 5576, the fiscal 2007 Departments of Transportation, Treasury, and Housing and Urban Development, the Judiciary, District of Columbia and Independent Agencies Appropriations bill, to focus on developing the governmentwide eTravel system.

ETravel would eliminate the need for paper travel documents and automate the entire process. It also would centralize the process through a self-service electronic system.

The committee said it wants small-business subcontracting to help in eTravel’s development. It directs the General Services Administration to ensure that at least 23 percent of all contracted dollars go to small businesses. The agency must also establish benchmarks to ensure their participation, the report states.

The fund supports interagency projects that expand on innovative uses of information technology for online government services.

The House Appropriations Committee took a harsher tone in its committee report, erasing $2 million from the president’s budget request. It blocked the Office of Management and Budget from using $40 million in GSA’s General Supply Fund for e-government initiatives.

“The committee refuses to relinquish oversight of the development and procurement of [IT] projects of the various agencies under its jurisdiction,” the House report states.

The House passed its version of the bill June 14. The Senate has not yet voted on it.

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