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FCW Insider: Coburn impresses

As I mentioned in an earlier blog, I went to the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs subcommittee on federal financial management, government information, federal services and international security hearing billed as High Risk IT: Is Poor Management Leading to Billions in Waste?

There was a ton o' stuff coming out of the three-hour session. One impression that that came out of the more than three-hour session: Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK), the subcommittee's ranking minority member, is one impressive guy.

Few members of Congress care about government management and operations. After all, few votes there. An even smaller number of members care about government IT issues. On top of the lack of voters that care about government IT, they are complex. Coburn, however, clearly gets it. He was very impressive during this hearing. He asked questions -- detailed questions -- without having to read the questions as given to him by staffers. In fact, they seemed to actually be his questions.

He also asked the agency CIOs and Karen Evans one of my favorite questions -- what can lawmakers do to help you. In many of the hearings I have attended, there has been a total lack of addressing the role of congress. Earmarks, for example, essentially tie an agency's hands. Or many of the specific authorizations in spending bills. It can make good management almost impossible.

Coburn was a winner of a Federal 100 award for his Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006, which requires the government to make its spending and grant information available online.

That database is set to launch in January.

It is really great to have somebody like Coburn who, agree or disagree with him, seems to be working for good government.

Posted on Sep 21, 2007 at 12:17 PM


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