Senate bill for Agriculture and VA would restrict IT spending

The Senate, in approving a fiscal 2006 spending bill for the Agriculture and Veterans Affairs departments, continued to put limits on those departments' IT spending.

The Senate and House must iron out the differences in their respective versions of the bills.

The $100.2 billion Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration and Related Agencies appropriation would require Agriculture to obtain congressional approval before consolidating or reducing any administrative or IT functions in the department.

The CIO's office has overseen a service center modernization to restructure USDA's county field offices, modernize and integrate business approaches and replace aging information systems with the Common Computing Environment.

The Senate approved $83 billion for the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs spending bill, of which $34 billion was for VA discretionary programs.

The Senate bill also would restrict use of IT funds for the HealtheVet project to modernize VA's VistA electronic records system until VA's IT portfolio management process matures to a level that can take on this project with a predictable chance of success.

About the Author

Mary Mosquera is a reporter for Federal Computer Week.

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