Senate limits IT funds in bill for DOJ, Commerce

The Senate has reined in IT funding for the Commerce and Justice departments and for science and independent agencies, even as it approved a much more generous overall budget than requested.

The Senate voted earlier this month to approve $48.9 billion for the fiscal 2006 Commerce-Justice appropriations bill, which is $1.7 billion more than President Bush requested and $884.1 million more than Congress approved last year.

The Senate bill provides $135 million for Justice Information Sharing Technology, which incorporates a variety of systems. That figure is $46.5 million below the president's request. In that appropriation, $10 million is earmarked for beginning deployment of a unified financial management system.

The failure of the FBI's Virtual Case File case management system led the Senate to direct Justice to establish an investment review board to review the thoroughness of business cases and ensure that performance measures for project milestones are created and complied with.

The bill also requires Justice, Commerce and independent agencies to notify Congress in advance of reprogramming funds to create or eliminate programs, to increase resources for restricted or denied programs, or to reorganize programs or privatize activities.

The House and Senate must next reconcile the differences in their versions of the bill.

About the Author

Mary Mosquera is a reporter for Federal Computer Week.

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