Congress 2014: The year of unfinished business

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In the legislative branch, the 113th Congress took IT reform and cybersecurity bills right down to the wire, passing both just days before adjourning for the holidays.

On Dec. 12, the Senate passed the 2015 National Defense Authorization Act, which included provisions from the Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act. The bill reformed CIO authorities and codified the White House Office of Management and Budget’s Federal Data Center Consolidation Initiative into law, paving the way for easier federal IT acquisition for CIOs of federal agencies.

Just a day earlier, the House agreed to the Federal Information Security Modernization Act of 2014, which passed the Senate two days before. The bill, spearheaded by Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., and retiring Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., would give the Department of Homeland Security more authority over cybersecurity across federal agencies through new power to conduct continuous monitoring of agency networks. FISMA, and several other cybersecurity bills, went to the president’s desk at the end of the 113th Congress.

Earlier in 2014, both houses of Congress passed the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act, commonly referred to as the DATA Act, which required federal financial spending to be more open and transparent. The president signed the bill into law in May. Since then, discussion has centered on how OMB and the Treasury Department can put the law’s provisions into place.

The legislative branch also left some IT- and cybersecurity-related bills on the table as they adjourned, including the Reforming Federal Procurement of Information Technology Act and California Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act of 2014.

With a new session and a Republican majority in both houses for the 114th Congress, the future of IT and cyber legislation is relatively unclear, but at least one analyst said the progress at the end of the 113th’s term could inspire the next session to include more technology-oriented legislation in the session.

“Given the changes of leadership and everything else, and the new energy behind this, [the new Congress] will take a look at what was enacted and see what they have to do next to get federal IT to the next level,” said Mike Hettinger, the former senior vice president for public sector and federal at Tech America. “I imagine some of this stuff will get a second hearing and we’ll continue the discussion.”

Big Story of 2014

The DATA Act journey is just beginning

By Jake Williams · Tuesday, Sept. 30, 2014 · 4:43 p.m.

Read more of our 2014 wrap-up coverage:

2014 Year-in-Review: Big names and big stories

Federal IT acquisition 2014: A year of reform

2014 forges a new, more comfortable relationship with cloud for government

Cybersecurity 2014: The battle for mindshare

Defense 2014: The year of strategies and women

FAA 2014: From UAS integration to NextGen

The FCC’s 2014 in the spotlight may be just the beginning

Health IT 2014: The push toward interoperable data

Patent and Trademark 2014: The downfall of a teleworking leader

Veterans Affairs 2014: The Year of Being Held Accountable

Federal workforce 2014: Hiring millennials and closing the STEM skills gap

White House 2014: Departures, digital service and Google

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Archives, Congress, Government IT News, Justice Department
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