Techwire - Federal IT procurement reform proposed

February 4, 2014
In The News

By Amy Stewart

IT contract procurement reform has been a contentious issue in both California and the nation in the last year, with the troubled launch of the federal health care law and the failure of California’s MyCalPAYS payroll system.
To address the problem on the federal level, Reps. Anna Eshoo, D-Calif., and Gerry Connolly, D-Va. have drafted legislation intended to provide greater oversight of the IT procurement process.
“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. “In an $80 billion sector of our federal government’s budget, this is an absolutely unacceptable waste of taxpayer dollars.”
The bill would create a new high-level office in the White House to review and guide major IT projects before they begin. The new U.S. chief technology officer would be the president’s lead technology adviser, head the federal Digital Government Office and would regulate new procurement processes.
The bill also would raise the threshold for small acquisitions from $150,000 to $500,000, which Eshoo and Connolly said would help small businesses win contracts without spending thousands of dollars on compliance costs.
“Our draft bill puts proven best practices to work by instituting a White House office of IT procurement and gives all American innovators a fair shake at competing for valuable federal IT contracts by lowering the burden of entry,” said Eshoo, whose district is home to Silicon Valley.
The new office would be paid for by repurposing fee surpluses collected by the Government Services Administration.