The House voted 418-0 Wednesday night to pass the FITARA Enhancement Act, a bill that would extend or eliminate many of the sunsetting provisions of the original Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act.

“Passage of the FITARA Enhancement Act sends a message to agencies that Congress is committed to the successful implementation and oversight of FITARA, and agencies will not be allowed to run out the clock on FITARA’s strict data center consolidation and reporting requirements,” Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., said on the House floor.

Currently FITARA provisions on the IT Dashboard and PortfolioStat will sunset Dec. 1, 2019, and the provision on the Data Center Consolidation Initiative will sunset Oct. 1, 2018. The enhancement legislation would make the IT Dashboard and PortfolioStat permanent, and extend the DCCI sunset to Oct. 1, 2020.

The IT Dashboard requires the Office of Management and Budget and agencies to make detailed information on federal IT investments publicly available while categorizing those investments based on risk. Investments rated high risk for four consecutive quarters require an agency review.

PortfolioStat requires agencies to annually review their IT investment portfolios to identify waste and duplication.

The DCCI requires agencies to provide OMB with a data center inventory and strategy for consolidating data centers. Under this provision 2,926 data centers have so far been closed.

“When I meet with stakeholders in federal IT from government agencies and industry, I am constantly reminded why previous major IT reform efforts have fallen short of their potential — the lack of a robust implementation plan and congressional oversight,” Connolly said.

“In working with my colleagues on the Oversight and Government Reform Committee to oversee implementation of FITARA, we have found that there are areas of FITARA that would benefit from an extension of their original sunset date. The FITARA Enhancement Act would do just that, extending three expiring provisions of the original Federal Information Technology Acquisition and Reform Act.”

According to Connolly, the extension of FITARA could pave the way for success in other IT initiatives, such as Texan Republican Rep. Will Hurd’s Modernizing Government Technology Act, which has passed the House and been included as part of the Senate’s National Defense Authorization Act.

FITARA was originally enacted Dec. 19, 2014. A Senate companion bill for the FITARA Enhancement Act was introduced in September 2017 and is currently awaiting review by the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee.

UPDATE: President Trump signed the FITARA Enhancement Act into law on November 21, 2017.

Jessie Bur covers federal IT and management.

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