Rep. Cartwright’s MEGABYTE Act to Become Law
Washington, DC – Today, U.S. Representative Matt Cartwright applauded the passage of the Making Electronic Government Accountable By Yielding Tangible Efficiencies (MEGABYTE) Act. Cartwright’s bill will now be sent to the president’s desk to be signed into law.
The legislation (H.R. 4904), introduced in the U.S. House on April 12, 2016 along with Representatives Will Hurd (R-TX-23), Steve Russell (R-OK-5) and Elijah Cummings (D-MD-7, just passed in the U.S. Senate by unanimous consent. The bill passed the House on June 7.
U.S. Senators Bill Cassidy (R-LA) and Gary Peters (D-MI) introduced companion legislation in the U.S. Senate.
“I want to thank Senators Cassidy and Peters for their leadership in the Senate, and Representatives Hurd, Russell and Cummings in the House for ensuring that this important piece of legislation will become law,” said Rep. Cartwright. “The MEGABYTE Act is an important step to minimize wasteful software spending and to promote the efficient procurement of technology.”
“Billions of taxpayer dollars could be saved if federal agencies kept track of what software they buy. It’s irresponsible they don’t do so already,” said Dr. Cassidy. “Tax dollars could be better used on our troops and our classrooms, not redundant software licenses.”
The federal government spends more than $80 billion annually on information technology (IT). However, the federal government has not effectively managed this spending, prompting the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to identify IT acquisition as a high risk area in February 2015. GAO designates areas as high risk due to significant vulnerabilities to fraud, waste, abuse, and mismanagement. Over the last five years, there have been several IT management initiatives to focus agency efforts on creating inventories of IT assets, eliminating duplication, and effectively managing such assets. However, these initiatives have not made effective management of software licenses a priority.
The purpose of the MEGABYTE Act is to improve software license management across the Federal Government to achieve tangible cost savings. The MEGABYTE Act requires federal agencies to establish a comprehensive inventory of 80 percent of software license spending; track and maintain software licenses in order to improve the agency’s software life cycle management; analyze software use; provide training to employees on software license management; and establish goals for agency software license management.
GAO stated that the federal government has already achieved at least $250 million in savings as a result of effective software license management. For example, GAO reported one major agency saved approximately $181 million by consolidating its enterprise license agreements. In addition, another major agency report savings of approximately $33 million as a result of consolidating major IT contracts, including licenses. GAO stated that additional savings could result if agencies implemented GAO's recommendations. The MEGABYTE Act fills this policy gap and focus agencies on the management of software licensing, ensuring a comprehensive and sustained approach to implement leading practices in software management.
Rep. Matt Cartwright represents Pennsylvania’s 17th Congressional District, which includes Schuylkill County and portions of Carbon, Lackawanna, Luzerne, Monroe, and Northampton Counties. Cartwright serves on the House Committee on Natural Resources and the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.