IT programs face big cuts in new spending bill

The bill would prevent a government shutdown, assure agencies money, and provide funds for defense spending

IT is taking a hard hit in the newly proposed continuing resolution that House appropriators released April 12, the agreement that provides funding through the end of fiscal 2011 and prevents -- for now -- a government shutdown. The cuts represent decreases compared to fiscal 2010 spending and to President Barack Obama's fiscal 2011 budget request.

A chart outlining the budget cuts, shows some of the programs that will take a hit:

The Veterans Affairs Department’s IT budget would receive $3.15 billion, a cut of $160 million compared to fiscal 2010 funding and $160 million compared to President Barack Obama’s fiscal 2011 budget request.

The Homeland Security Department’s Customs and Border Protection agency’s Automation Modernization IT program would receive $337 million, which is an $81 million decrease in money compared to what it received in fiscal 2010. And compared to Obama’s request, it would get a $6 million decrease.

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The Justice Department’s Tactical Law Enforcement Wireless Communication would get $100 million. Its funding would drop by $106 million compared to 2010, and $108 million below what Obama asked for.

Funds for Justice's information sharing technology would decrease to $60.2 million, reduced by $28 million from 2010 and $120 million less than Obama’s request.

The electronic government fund, handled by the General Services Administration to aid governmentwide and interagency e-gov projects, would get $8 million, a decrease of $26 million compared to 2010 and $27 million compared to the 2011 budget request.

More directly, the Agriculture Department’s CIO office would get $40 million, which is $22 million less than in 2010 and $24 million less than the president wanted.

The cuts include $12 billion in reductions previously approved by Congress and signed into law under the previous three continuing resolutions, as well as nearly $28 billion in additional new spending cuts.

In all, the bill would include $1.05 trillion in spending. (Read the bill.)

Hal Rogers (R-Ky.), chairman of the Appropriations Committee, said the bill targets duplicative spending and “out-of-control federal bureaucracies.”

“My committee went line by line through agency budgets this weekend to negotiate and craft deep but responsible reductions in virtually all areas of government,” he said.

Senate appropriators said “the final legislation rejects the draconian cuts and onerous policy riders” of previous spending bills the House had passed in recent months. However, agencies’ programs will suffer difficult cuts, and “their impact will be especially painful in some instances.”

Last week, the government employees, companies working alongside the federal agencies, and even the public in general were watching closely to see if the government would shut the doors. In the final hours, congressional leaders and the president came to a final agreement to fund the government through April 15.

The bill now must be passed by Congress and signed by the president.

About the Author

Matthew Weigelt is a freelance journalist who writes about acquisition and procurement.

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Reader comments

Thu, Apr 14, 2011 John D.C.

With the budget slashing, it is time for CIOs to start seriously looking at open source solutions to save money while still providing the IT services.

Wed, Apr 13, 2011

These guys need to start getting bent over by the manufacturer's. They need to start acting like the rest of the business world when times are tight, going with gray market and refurbished options to cut costs. I watched a DoD agency pay $100K more for memory upgrades on a 7 year old server from Sun just because told them they weren't allowed to buy from a gray market company. Yes I said memory upgrades

Wed, Apr 13, 2011

Given that we are in a results based budget and that over the last two years, changes in technology have promised decreased cost will occur moving to the cloud; one would assume that the cuts should be expected and related to the saving expected by implementing last year's technology solutions?

Wed, Apr 13, 2011 MadDawg NC

Here is how it is going to work in the USDA. Upper management will rob money from other program line items to pay for these systems. We are going see these systems go on-line and not have any money to do our jobs. Yes, those jobs that feed data into these systems. Makes agood sense doesn't it.

Wed, Apr 13, 2011 Friend Germany

The best way to save public-money in the ICT-environment is replacing overpriced Microsoft Systems with Open Source Products,like LibreOffice, Ubuntu Desktop, Android Tablets and SmartPhones

Best Regards

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