Legislation Builds on Peters’ MEGABYTE Act That Has Saved Taxpayers More than $450 Million
WASHINGTON, DC – Bipartisan legislation authored by U.S. Senator Gary Peters (MI) 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 to reduce duplicative software purchases called the MEGABYTE Act. Since being signed into law, this legislation has saved taxpayers more than $450 million. The bill now heads to the Senate floor for consideration.
“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.”
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. Peters’ 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.
Peters has led numerous efforts to ensure that taxpayer dollars are spent effectively and efficiently. He convened a hearing to ensure pandemic emergency relief funds have been effectively used to help Americans affected by COVID-19. Peters’ bipartisan bill to save taxpayer dollars by ensuring federal property assets are disaster resilient has advanced in the Senate. As a part of the American Rescue Plan, Peters secured $1 billion for the Technology Modernization Fund to modernize federal government systems that deliver critical services, like unemployment insurance, to Americans. Peters’ provision to help save billions of federal taxpayer dollars by curbing erroneous payments to deceased individuals was signed into law last Congress.