The MEGABYTE Act has passed the House, and Congress hopes it will save taxpayers over $4 billion a year in software purchases alone.
You know what sounds like the best job ever? Coming up with the acronyms for the government, as evidenced by the recent passing through the House of the MEGABYTE Act, which stands for Making Electronic Government Accountable By Yielding Tangible Efficiencies Act.
The MEGABYTE Act, though, is hardly a laughing matter. First introduced late last year in the Senate and a new version having passed the House unanimously this week, this act aims to curb the wasteful software spending within the government’s multiple agencies. How wasteful? How about $4 billion a year in estimated overspending, just on software alone?
This Act has been a long time coming. Just last week, the Office of Management and Budget issued its requirements to all government agencies to cut out the wasteful spending, stop buying up software that never gets used because employees aren’t trained on it, and to each appoint a software guru. This “chief of software” position would make sure that the software purchases their agencies make are valid, useful, mission critical, and actually put in use.
In reality, the OMB’s missive was largely related to a letter Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA), sent to its director six months before he introduced the MEGABYTE Act in the Senate, highlighting the billions of dollars a year that are wasted in government software purchasing and licenses. Along with his bill’s co-sponsor, Sen. Gary Peters (D-MI), the two brought attention to the outright waste that largely stemmed from a lack of inter-agency communication and lack of updated training.
“Billions of taxpayer dollars could be saved if federal agencies keep track of what software they buy,” Cassidy said in a statement. “It’s irresponsible they don’t do so already.”
Now, a new bipartisan bill for the MEGABYTE Act has been introduced in the House by 29 Representatives, and it passed unanimously on Tuesday. According to the bill’s author, Rep. Matt Cartwright (D-PA) said, “I want to thank Senator Cassidy for his leadership in the Senate and I look forward to working with him to ensure that this legislation makes its way to the President’s desk. Of the twenty-four major federal agencies, only two have implemented policies of comprehensive and clear management of software licenses. The MEGABYTE Act is the first in a series of steps we can take to minimize wasteful software spending, and to promote efficient procurement of technology.”