Peters and Cruz Introduces Bipartisan Bill to Require Government Agencies to Share Code

Bipartisan legislation would streamline government spending and reduce waste 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Gary Peters (D-MI), Chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, and Ted Cruz (R-TX) introduced bipartisan legislation that would require government agencies to share custom-developed source code with each other, which would prevent duplicative government contracts to build software. The bill would save taxpayer dollars and reduce wasteful spending by ensuring agencies do not reproduce code that another agency has already procured.  

“Ensuring the federal government is sharing code across agencies will save taxpayers money, increase digital efficiency for government services, strengthen security and enable innovation in software,” said Senator Peters. “This bipartisan bill is a critical step forward in advancing the digital capacity of the federal government and will benefit Americans as they access government services online.” 

“Each year, federal agencies spend billions for software that may be duplicative because it is not shared between agencies, despite existing infrastructure to do so,” said Senator Cruz. “I am glad to join Chairman Peters in introducing this common-sense solution that will save taxpayer funds by holding federal agencies accountable for sharing the code they procure.” 

Currently, the federal government spends approximately $12 billion annually purchasing software, including software that is “custom-developed” for agencies, such as websites, analytical models, and apps. Despite the fact that much custom-developed code is not classified or sensitive, agencies generally do not make custom software available to one another, even though there is an existing website created for agencies to do so. 

The Source Code Harmonization And Reuse in Information Technology (SHARE IT) Act would improve and update federal source code policy by requiring agencies to publicly list custom code they make or buy and share this code with the rest of the government, and ensures transparency by requiring agencies to publicly list their custom code.

As Chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, Peters has led several efforts to ensure the federal government uses taxpayer dollars effectively when purchasing software. A law written by Peters, the MEGABYTE Act, which reduces duplicative software purchases, has saved taxpayers more than $450 million since 2016. The Senate has also passed Peters’ bipartisan legislation, the Strengthening Agency Management and Oversight of Software Assets Act, which builds on the MEGABYTE Act by requiring agencies to conduct an independent, comprehensive assessment of their software licensing practices, which would improve management of how the federal government purchases and uses software.