Draft bill looks to create new IT office, change IT procurement

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A Democratic duo of representatives is circulating a draft bill that aims, in part, to stymie website disasters like the launch of healthcare.gov.

Reps. Anna Eshoo, D-Calif., and Gerry Connolly, D-Va., joined forces to write a bill that would create a United States Digital Government Office, which would be headed by a U.S. chief technology officer. The CTO would be tasked with regulating and managing IT procurement.

The office would review and guide major IT projects in hopes of keeping them on track and on budget.

“Studies show that 94 percent of major government IT projects between 2003 and 2012 came in over budget, behind schedule or failed completely,” Eshoo said in a statement, “Our draft bill puts proven best practices to work by instituting a White House office of IT procurement.”

The bill will also raise the simplified acquisition process threshold to $500,000 for IT projects. The simplified process does not require formal evaluation planning, scoring offers or other criteria.

The bill, dubbed as the Reforming Federal Procurement of Information Technology Act, also gives the CTO rein over those in the Presidential Innovation Fellows program.

RFP-IT would work in conjunction and not in conflict with the Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act, which Connolly and Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., sponsored.

FITARA was supposed to increase the responsibility of agency chief information officers. The bill was attached to the Defense Authorization Act, but was unable to hang on all the way to DAA’s passage.

The federal government currently spends about $82 billion a year on IT.

“Despite incremental improvements in federal IT management over the years, the bottom line is that large-scale federal IT program failures continue to waste taxpayers’ dollars, while jeopardizing our nation’s ability to carry out fundamental constitutional responsibilities, from conducting a census to securing our borders,” Connolly said in a statement.

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Anna Eshoo, Congress, Darrell Issa, Gerry Connolly, Government IT News, Tech
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