Lieberman Hails Passage of E-Government Legislation

WASHINGTON – Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Joe Lieberman, Ranking Member Fred Thompson, and Conrad Burns, R-Mont., co-chairman of the Congressional Internet Caucus praised the passage of legislation that will help bring the federal government more fully into the electronic age by improving citizen access to government information and services.

The Electronic Government Act was originally introduced by Lieberman and Burns in May 2001. An amended version sponsored by Lieberman and Thompson passed out of the Committee in March 2002 and was approved by the Senate Thursday evening by unanimous consent.

“Today we come a step closer to achieving the important goal of providing Americans the same 24-7 access to government information and services that is now available to them from the private sector,” Lieberman said. “It is time the government take full advantage of the Internet and other information technologies to maximize efficiency and provide the public with seamless, secure online information and services.”

“This legislation improves the management of e-government and promotes the use of the Internet to provide better information and services to the public,” Thompson said. “I am particularly pleased that the bill passed by the Senate today makes permanent the Government Information Security Reform Act which Senator Lieberman and I sponsored and was enacted last Congress. It’s no secret that our nation’s underlying information infrastructure is riddled with vulnerabilities which represent severe risks to our national security, public safety and personal privacy. Securing our infrastructure is a vital part of securing our homeland.”

“The e-government bill’s guiding philosophy is a simple and practical one,” Burns said. “The federal government should take advantage of the tremendous opportunities offered by information technology to better serve its constituents. The passing of this bill is a major milestone toward this goal.”

The measure would:

  • establish an Office of Electronic Government, headed by a Senate-confirmed administrator within the Office of Management and Budget authorize $345 million over four years for an e-government fund to support interagency e-government projects improve upon the centralized online portal;
  • establish an online directory of Federal web sites require federal courts to post opinions online improve recruitment and training of information technology professionals.

The bill contains a variety of other provisions that would require agencies to establish online rule-making, encourage compatibility of electronic signatures and provide strong new privacy protections.

In addition, it lifts the sunset on the Thompson-Lieberman Government Information Security Reform Act, which provides a management framework for protecting the security of government computers.

The underlying bill is co-sponsored by Senators Conrad Burns, R-Mont., Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M., Peter Fitzgerald, R-Ill., Thomas Daschle, D-S.D., John McCain, R-Ariz., Thomas Carper D-Del., Richard Durbin, D-Ill., Tim Johnson, D-S.D., John Kerry, D-Mass., Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., Carl Levin, D-Mich.. Max Cleland, D-Ga., Mark Dayton, D-Minn., and Deborah Stabenow, D-Mich.