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UPDATE: House committee to vote on IT reform bill

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The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee will vote on legislation Wednesday to overhaul how agencies buy and manage information technology.

Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., introduced the Federal Information Technology Acquisition Act on Monday after months of circulating the draft bill to industry groups for feedback.

Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., has expressed general support for the bill, which has since undergone revisions to address concerns voiced by industry and others. (Click here to view the revisions)

Under Issa’s new plan:

- CIOs at 16 major civilian agencies, including Veterans Affairs and Agriculture department, must be presidential appointees or designees and report directly to the head of their agency. Today, most CIOs at large agencies are political appointees but not all of them report to the head of their agencies.

- The Government Accountability Office would review the effectiveness of the CIO Council, an interagency forum charged with improving federal IT practices. The council must also submit annual reports to Congress on its progress.

- CIOs would track and report the costs and savings under the administration’s data center consolidation initiative.

- The Office of Management and Budget would house a CollaborationCenter, aimed at assisting agencies with challenging IT projects. In the previous draft, agencies would have been required to consult with experts at a so-called commodity IT center for contracts exceeding $50 million. Use of newly created acquisition centers of excellence would be optional.

- OMB must publish the status of 80 percent of the government’s $80 billion IT portfolio on the Dashboard, and OMB must ensure data is current and accurate. Today, only 50 percent of the IT budget is publicly available on the Dashboard.

- CIOs would have greater flexibility to fund cloud projects through cloud service working capital funds at their agencies.

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