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Lieberman, Burns Seek Refunding of E-Gov Bill

The co-sponsors of the E-Government Act sent a letter Monday to the Senate Appropriations Committee seeking to restore the $40 million funding slashed from the legislation last week. The Omnibus Appropriations Resolution passed by the Senate last week contains only $5 million of the original $45 million slated for the legislation.

Joe Lieberman (D.-Conn.) and Conrad Burns (R. Mont.) authored the bill passed last November and signed by President Bush that would provide seed money for interagency e-government projects. The bill seeks to make government online services and information more helpful to constituents.

"One of the most frequently cited impediments to e-government progress is the lack of funding mechanisms for interagency projects in information technology," the senators wrote. "Collaboration on advanced IT systems can make complex government operations much more effective, particularly when these activities involve multiple agencies or levels of government."

The senators added the original $45 million request represents a small fraction of the total spent on e-government initiatives each year. In addition to the $45 million requested in funding requested for 2003, the Bush Administration hopes to increase spending on e-gov initiatives to $150 million in by 2006.

The House already has approved spending of only $5 million on E-Gov initiatives in 2003. Whatever number the Senate ultimately approves for e-gov spending will go to a conference committee to work out differences between the budgets approved by both chambers.

The Electronic Government Act also establishes an Office of Electronic Government, headed by a presidentially-appointed administrator within the Office of Management and Budget. The administrator will implement e-government initiatives and oversee agencies' compliance with relevant statutes.