House Unanimously Passes Bill to Elevate the Federal CIO

Eisenhower Old Executive Office Building in Washington, D.C.

Eisenhower Old Executive Office Building in Washington, D.C. Wangkun Jia/Shutterstock.com

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But the Federal CIO Authorization Act still has no Senate counterpart.

House lawmakers on Tuesday unanimously approved a bill that would elevate the federal chief information officer within the White House chain of command.

The Federal CIO Authorization Act, sponsored by Reps. Will Hurd, R-Texas and Robin Kelly, D-Ill., would make the position a direct report to the Office of Management and Budget director. It would also designate both the federal CIO and federal chief information security officer as presidentially appointed positions. The federal CISO would report to the federal CIO.

Suzette Kent currently serves as the federal CIO, and Grant Schneider is the government CISO.

The bill initially passed the House in November but died at the end of the last Congress after the Senate failed to introduce a counterpart. Hurd and Kelly reintroduced the measure in the early days of the new session.

The legislation still has no Senate sponsor, Hurd’s office told Nextgov.

“Americans need to know that we are doing everything we can to keep their most precious information safe,” Hurd said in a statement. “This bill helps keep the vast information stored by the federal government secure from hackers by making clear that the federal CIO is in charge of the security of our data across the government."

The act would also require the federal CIO to submit a proposal to Congress for consolidating and streamlining federal IT, as well as rename the Office of E-Government to the Office of the Federal Chief Information Officer.

“Using business and states as a model, we’ve seen how a strong CIO office can help streaming IT processes and accelerate modernization,” Kelly said in a statement. “As in the 115th Congress, I’m glad to see that IT modernization remains a bipartisan priority in this Congress.”