OMB officials say Congress more accepting of e-gov

Administration officials are not frustrated with Congress’ lack of support for e-government, and some believe the tide has turned.

Clay Johnson, the Office of Management and Budget’s deputy director for management, said Jan. 31 they have moved past the resistance phase of e-government now that lawmakers and their staff members want more information on the initiatives.

“We had a lot of resistance three or four years ago,” he said. “But when we explain what we are trying to do, they are pretty quick to say go.”

Johnson added that at first lawmakers’ understanding of e-government was minimal, but now they are getting to where they need to be.

Karen Evans, OMB’s administrator for e-government and information technology, added that Congress wants transparency into the process to ensure agencies are providing the same service with the governmentwide system as they did with their own system.

She said that the legislative requirements for reports on e-government or the Lines of Business projects are a measure of success.

“If they are asking for more information, then they are understanding it more and more,” she said.

OMB will deliver its annual e-government report to Congress in February, Evans added.

As part of the fiscal 2009 budget request, which the White House will submit to Congress on Feb. 4, OMB, for the time, will provide legislators with specific information on savings from e-government projects, sources say. The administration also will include the number of systems it has shut down because of the e-government initiatives.

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