Horn: Agencies will get funds for code work

The chairman of a newly formed House year 2000 task force said last week that Congress
will give agencies whatever funds they need to fix their systems.


Rep. Steve Horn (R-Calif.) and other Republicans also chided the Clinton administration
about the government’s progress on year 2000 work during a hearing of the House
Government Reform and Oversight Subcommittee on Government Management, Information and
Technology.


The subcommittee met to discuss agency year 2000 efforts.


"We don’t intend to deny you one penny, despite two or three years of
procrastination" by the executive branch, said Horn, the committee’s chairman.
"You’re going to get every dime you need."


Congress has met every request for additional funds for year 2000 fixes, Horn said,
despite earlier stern warnings that agencies would have to find the money in existing
budgets.


G. Edward DeSeve, the Office of Management and Budget’s acting deputy director of
management, said Congress is giving away money that could go for emergency funding further
down the road.


"To the extent such unanticipated requirements are identified, it will be
essential to make that funding available quickly. It will truly be emergency
funding," he told the subcommittee.


"We urge the Congress to leave as much as possible of the emergency contingency
reserve unallocated, so that funds are available to address emerging needs," DeSeve
said.


Horn told DeSeve that at least $4 billion in emergency funds will be available.
"The speaker is very determined to provide you with every dollar you want and have
the emergency provision go forward," Horn said.


Rona B. Stillman, chief scientist for the General Accounting Office’s Accounting
and Information Management Division, also told the committee that the date code problem
may be bigger than many believe.


OMB’s figures for systems status have not yet been verified, she said.


"Complete and thorough year 2000 testing is essential to provide reasonable
assurance that new or modified systems process dates correctly," she said. GAO has
issued a step-by-step testing guide at http://www.gao.gov.


In other developments, House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) on June 19 named Horn and
Rep. Constance A. Morella (R-Md.) leaders of the newly formed House Y2K Task Force.


The task force will work with the Senate Special Committee on the Year 2000 Technology
Problem chaired by Sen. Robert Bennett (R-Utah).


Gingrich said that the House was out in front of the administration on the date code
issue.


"Long before Y2K was making headlines, Steve Horn and Connie Morella were holding
hearings and sounding the alarm on the impending year 2000 computer crisis," Gingrich
said.


"While the administration’s lack of attention to this critical issue has put
many federal information technology systems at risk, I am confident that the task force
can help significantly reduce the damage caused by the millennium bug," he said.

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