House passes ‘Megabyte Act’ to increase oversight of software licensing

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A bill that aims to curtail unnecessary software spending in government unanimously passed the House on Tuesday. 

The Megabyte Act, short for the Making Electronic Government Accountable By Yielding Tangible Efficiencies Act of 2016, would have the Office of Management and Budget chief direct agencies to develop software licensing policies, according to a release from bill sponsor Rep. Matt Cartwright, D-Pa. Agencies would also need to track spending data and keep an inventory of all licenses. 

In the release, Cartwright said the government spends $9 billion on software licensing. He said, if passed, the legislation could save the government as much as $4 billion a year. 

“Of the 24 major federal agencies, only two have implemented policies of comprehensive and clear management of software licenses,” he said. “The Megabyte Act is the first in a series of steps we can take to minimize wasteful software spending, and to promote efficient procurement of technology.”

A Senate version of the bill was introduced earlier this year.

The federal government spends about $80 billion a year on IT, and several recent efforts, like the Federal IT Acquisition Reform Act, have endeavored to curb waste. Just last week, OMB announced it would require agencies to remove redundant licenses and appoint a software manager within 45 days.

Megabyte Act would dovetail some of the reforms in FITARA, Rep. Will Hurd, R-Texas said on the House Floor.

“It’s simple, it’s straightforward, and it makes sense,” Hurd said of the Megabyte Act. “IT procurement is not a sexy topic — nobody goes to a rally for IT procurement. But getting this right will save money and when we cut waste, we allow hard working Americans to keep more of their own money in their own pockets.”

Contact the reporter on this story via email: Jeremy.Snow@FedScoop.com. Follow him on Twitter @JeremyM_Snow. Sign up for the Daily Scoop — all the federal IT news you need in your inbox every morning — here: fdscp.com/sign-me-on.

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Agencies, Government IT News, Management & Budget, MEGABYTE Act, Regulations & Oversight
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