Peters & Cruz Bipartisan Bill to Require Government Agencies to Share Code Passes Committee 

WASHINGTON, D.C. –   Bipartisan legislation authored by U.S. Senators Gary Peters (D-MI), and Ted Cruz (R-TX) to require government agencies to share custom-developed source code with each other to avoid duplicative efforts to build software has advanced in the Senate. The bill was approved unanimously by the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, where Peters serves as chair. It now moves to the full Senate for consideration. 

“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. 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,” said Senator Peters.  

“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. I am hopeful that this bipartisan, common-sense legislation will quickly pass the Senate and become law so that we can begin holding federal agencies accountable for sharing the code they procure and save taxpayer funds by doing so,” said U.S. Senate Commerce Committee Ranking Member Ted Cruz.  

“This bipartisan bill will promote the sharing across federal agencies of source code and software that was solely funded by the federal government. PSC anticipates that these changes will not only benefit federal agencies, they will also help federal contractors of all sizes while improving competition. This bill will help ensure that the government and taxpayers are getting the best value and performance for their investment,” said David Berteau, President and CEO of Professional Services Council (PSC). 

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. This inefficiency results in duplicative government contracts and needless spending when agencies hire contractors to reproduce code that another agency has already procured.   

The Source Code Harmonization And Reuse in Information Technology (SHARE IT) Act improves and updates 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. The legislation contains exceptions for code made for national security systems, classified code, or code whose disclosure would create an identifiable risk to individual privacy. 

The SHARE IT Act requires no additional funding, as agencies already have the flexibility to share code via existing government infrastructure like, open-source tools like Git, or commercial platforms like GitHub or Bitbucket.