WASHINGTON – Governmental Affairs Committee Ranking Member Joe Lieberman, D-Conn., and Senator Conrad Burns, R-Mont., Monday asked Senate appropriators to reinstate the full $45 million for the E-Government Fund that was requested by the Bush Administration in its FY2003 budget. Lieberman and Burns cosponsored legislation enacted last December calling for $45 million for the fund, which will provide critical seed money for interagency e-government projects. These projects are central to developing information technology systems that will make government online services and information more helpful to constituents. E-government projects that cut across traditional agency borders will also help improve homeland security efforts.
The Omnibus Appropriations Resolution passed by the Senate last week contains only $5 million for these projects. Below is a copy of the letter sent to Senate Appropriations Chairman Ted Stevens, R-Ala. And identical letter was sent to Ranking Member Robert Byrd, D-W.Va.:
January 27, 2003
The Honorable Ted Stevens Chairman
Senate Committee on Appropriations Washington, D.C. 20510
Dear Senator Stevens:
We are writing to support the Administration’s request for $45 million for the E-Government Fund for Fiscal Year 2003, and to ask that this amount be reinstated in the Omnibus Appropriations Resolution. The E-Government Act of 2002, H.R. 2458, was enacted into law on December 17, 2002, after unanimously passing both the Senate and House the previous month.
The legislation will improve management of electronic government initiatives, enhancing access to government information and services over the Internet and better utilizing information technologies to improve government’s efficiency and effectiveness. Both the Administration’s budget request for FY 2003 and the E-Government Act include $45 million for an E-Government Fund.
The Act also establishes statutory criteria governing how the Fund is to be administered. One of the most frequently cited impediments to e-government progress is the lack of funding mechanisms for interagency projects in information technology. Collaboration on advanced IT systems can make complex government operations much more effective, particularly when these activities involve multiple agencies or levels of government. Collaboration on information systems is also vitally needed to enhance our homeland security. But these collaboratively developed advanced information technology systems also require coordination in how the project is funded. The E-Government Fund provides a central funding pool to support collaboratively developed electronic government initiatives.
The amounts requested for the E-Government Fund represent a tiny fraction of the total spent on e-government initiatives each year. The Fund provides crucial seed money to promote innovation and help create the government of the future.We appreciate your attention to this issue
. With our thanks and warmest regards,
Joseph I. Lieberman
Conrad Burns cc: Mr. Cochran Mr. Specter Mr. Domenici Mr. Bond Mr. McConnell Mr. Burns Mr. Shelby Mr. Gregg Mr. Bennett Mr. Campbell Mr. Craig Mrs. Hutchinson Mr. DeWine Mr. Brownback