Senate bill looks to boost FCC CIO authorities

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A bipartisan pair of senators is looking to expand the Federal Communications Commission CIO's governance authorities over tech-related decisions.

Sens. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) and Tom Udall (D-N.M.), members of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, introduced the FCC CIO Parity Act Dec.7 to codify a series of expanded authorities.

Moran and Udall were the original sponsors of the cloud computing bill that eventually morphed into the Managing Government Technology Act. That bill passed Congress as part of the National Defense Authorization Act and is due to be signed into law Dec. 12, according to remarks from Rep. Will Hurd (R-Texas) at a recent House hearing.

The FCC bill would ensure the agency CIO (currently Christine Calvosa) has a "significant role" in planning and budgeting decisions relating to IT decisions, management and oversight of processes related to IT, as well as the hiring of IT personnel.

The bill also would give the FCC CIO, in consultation with the agency's CFO and other budget officials, the authority to request and approve the allocation of the agency's IT funding.

Essentially, the measure serves as a confirmation that CIO authorities under the Federal IT Acquisition Reform Act apply to the FCC – there has been ongoing discussion at FCC and elsewhere about whether the law governs IT at independent regulatory agencies.

"I continue to believe Congress needs to do everything in its power to modernize the federal government's IT systems, including independent agencies which are outside the statutory scope of FITARA. This legislation seeks to address that issue by empowering the FCC CIO in important budgetary decisions among other important functions," Moran told FCW in an emailed statement.

This article was updated Dec. 9 to include a statement from Sen. Jerry Moran. 

About the Author

Chase Gunter is a staff writer covering civilian agencies, workforce issues, health IT, open data and innovation.

Prior to joining FCW, Gunter reported for the C-Ville Weekly in Charlottesville, Va., and served as a college sports beat writer for the South Boston (Va.) News and Record. He started at FCW as an editorial fellow before joining the team full-time as a reporter.

Gunter is a graduate of the University of Virginia, where his emphases were English, history and media studies.

Click here for previous articles by Gunter, or connect with him on Twitter: @WChaseGunter


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