Peters & Cassidy Bipartisan Bill to Save Taxpayer Dollars by Improving How Federal Agencies Purchase Software Advances in Senate

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 legislation builds on a law written by Peters and Cassidy to reduce duplicative software purchases called the MEGABYTE Act. Since being signed into law in 2016, this legislation has saved taxpayers more than $450 million. The legislation was approved by the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, where Peters serves as Chair. It now moves to the full Senate for consideration.

“Requiring federal agencies to improve how they track their software purchases will reduce waste, strengthen cybersecurity, and modernize government operations,” said Senator Peters. “This bipartisan bill will save taxpayer dollars in the long run by improving how the federal government buys software.”

“Taxpayers expect us to be responsible with their money. The government should not be overpaying for software when the same product is available for less,” said Dr. Cassidy. “We are one step closer to ensuring agencies spend their money as if a taxpayer was spending their own money—wisely.”

Below are statements in support of the senators’ bipartisan legislation:

“We encourage policymakers to recognize the far-reaching positive impacts of this bill,” said Josh A. Rogin, Vice President of Federal Affairs for the Computer & Communications Industry Association (CCIA). “A comprehensive overview of federal software licensing will increase agency coordination and help realize new ways to advance projects which directly benefit U.S. taxpayers.”

“The government needs to know what it’s buying as agencies move rapidly to modern, secure cloud based solutions,” said Ross Nodurft, Executive Director of Alliance for Digital Innovation. “We support providing agencies with the knowledge they need to make the most informed technology decision possible to support their missions.”

“The Coalition for Fair Software Licensing applauds Senators Peters and Cassidy for their continued, bipartisan leadership on this pivotal issue,” said Coalition for Fair Software Licensing Executive Director Ryan Triplette. “Now more than ever, it is imperative that Congress prioritizes the passage of the Strengthening Agency Management and Oversight of Software Assets Act to ensure that taxpayers’ dollars are spent effectively and our federal agencies are not constrained by restrictive software licensing tactics.”

“NetChoice strongly supports this bipartisan effort and commends Senators Peters and Cassidy for leading the SAMOSA Act,” said NetChoice President & CEO Steve DelBianco. “If passed this year, the SAMOSA Act would be a win for agencies, who have been pressured by incumbent software vendors for too long. It will also empower competition for contracts in the IT space, incentivizing companies to improve their product quality, security and value—a big win for taxpayers.”

Billions of dollars are spent on software purchases and license modifications every year. Agencies lack of visibility of what they have already purchased, combined with the way vendors sell software, often leads to duplicative purchases and limits agencies’ ability to conduct their own oversight of these purchases. The senators’ legislation would help agencies create a plan to purchase software in a more cost-effective manner.

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.