House lawmakers introduced a companion bill to bipartisan Senate legislation designed to improve the efficiency of federal agency software management.
Bipartisan legislation designed to root out federal software purchasing inefficiencies and develop inventories for agencies' software products is gaining momentum to advance in the lame duck session of Congress.
A group of House lawmakers introduced the Strengthening Agency Management and Oversight of Software Assets Act this week after the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee advanced a companion bill on a voice vote in late September.
The legislation directs federal agencies to conduct assessments and develop complete inventories of their software assets, and require federal chief information officers to begin consolidating software licenses and adopting agency-wide enterprise license agreements.
CIOs would have one year under the legislation to develop comprehensive inventories and reports of their software contracts, with details about what software has been purchased and costs. The legislation also instructs the Office of Management and Budget to publish a governmentwide software modernization strategy.
Rep. Matt Cartwright (D-Pa.), who introduced the House-companion bill this week, said in a statement that "without in-depth assessments of how agencies buy and use software, vendors often have the upper hand in transactions with federal agencies."
Sen. Gary Peters (D-Mich.), chair of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, introduced the Senate version of the bill in September along with Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) The senator said at the time that "requiring agencies to assess how they buy software will help lawmakers and the federal government formulate a plan to ensure we are effectively purchasing and managing these products."
The push to pass a bill requiring federal software inventories follows the Making Electronic Government Accountable By Yielding Tangible Efficiencies Act, otherwise known as the MEGABYTE Act, which targeted duplicative software purchases by agencies. Federal agencies have credited the legislation with saving taxpayers over $450 million since it was passed in 2016.