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Senate appropriators trim OMB's IT initiatives for 2011

Aug. 2, 2010 - 06:00AM   |  
By TOM SPOTH   |   Comments
Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, is chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee.
Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, is chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee. (Jim Watson / AFP)

The Senate Appropriations Committee last week voted to give the Obama administration just 70 percent of requested fiscal 2011 funding for some of its key information-technology initiatives.

The Office of Management and Budget asked for $35 million for its E-Government Fund, about the same as it received in 2010, and $50 million for a new Integrated, Efficient and Effective Uses of Information Technology program.

In marking up the 2001 Financial Services and General Government appropriations bill, the committee on July 29 gave OMB $20 million and $40 million, respectively, for the programs.

The two funds would be used for initiatives such as: expanding federal use of cloud computing; online interactions with the public to promote Obama's goal of government transparency; consolidating data centers at federal agencies; online dashboards to track federal agencies' performance in different areas; and the Data.gov website.

It's unclear how the cuts, if enacted, would affect the administration's projects. The House has yet to take up these sections of the 2011 budget. OMB did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The committee, chaired by Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, reported that it did not fully fund the e-government initiative, which received $34 million this year, due to "funding constraints as well as lack of detail and clearly defined information regarding spending requests." The report said the data-center consolidation plan was particularly vague; the committee asked the General Services Administration to report within 120 days on the feasibility of consolidation.

Regarding OMB's Integrated, Efficient and Effective Uses of Information Technology program, the committee said it "welcomes the comprehensive, innovative approach to modernizing and streamlining common information technology services" and that it believes $40 million will be sufficient to fund the program's first year.

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