WASHINGTON, DC – Bipartisan legislation authored by U.S. Senators Gary Peters (D-MI) and Bill Cassidy (R-LA) to save taxpayer dollars by improving management of how the federal government purchases and uses software has advanced in the Senate. The bill would require agencies to conduct an independent, comprehensive assessment of their software licensing practices. This would be used by Congress, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), and the General Services Administration (GSA) to increase federal oversight of software contracts in order to streamline operations and reduce wasteful spending. The bill was advanced by the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee where Peters serves as Chair, and now moves to the full Senate for consideration. The legislation builds on a law written by Peters and Cassidy to reduce duplicative software purchases called the MEGABYTE Act. Since being signed into law, this legislation has saved taxpayers more than $450 million.
“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,” said Senator Peters. “This commonsense, bipartisan legislation will save taxpayer dollars, reduce waste and modernize government operations. I urge my colleagues to pass it as soon as possible.”
“By requiring the federal government to keep track of its purchased software licenses, we saved taxpayers $450 million,” said Dr. Cassidy. “That’s a win for the taxpayer and a win for government efficiency. This bill builds on this effort to make government work better.”
Billions of dollars are spent on software purchases and license modifications every year. Agencies’ lack of visibility on what they have already purchased, combined with the way vendors sell software, often leads to duplicative purchases. The senators’ legislation would help agencies formulate a plan to purchase software in a more cost-effective manner and save taxpayer dollars.
The Strengthening Agency Management and Oversight of Software Assets Act would require federal agencies to provide an independent, comprehensive assessment of their software purchasing practices to Congress, OMB, and GSA. The findings of these assessments will help federal Chief Information Officers (CIOs) to better manage how agencies acquire IT products. These actions will reduce costs, improve governance, and enhance agency performance. The legislation will allow agencies to receive fairer, more cost-competitive deals on their software assets and achieve important IT modernization goals.