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Rep. Cartwright’s MEGABYTE Act Signed into Law

Today, U.S. Representative Matt Cartwright announced that his legislation, the Making Electronic Government Accountable By Yielding Tangible Efficiencies (MEGABYTE) Act, has been signed into law by President Barack Obama.

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), passed in the U.S. Senate on July 14 by unanimous consent.  The bill passed in the House on June 7 by a vote of 366-0.

Senators Bill Cassidy (R-LA) and Gary Peters (D-MI) introduced companion legislation in the Senate.

“I am always looking for ways to improve efficiency within federal government, and sometimes it’s surprising the places you find an opportunity,” said Rep. Cartwright.  “There is considerable waste in software license expenditures, and implementation of the MEGABYTE Act will rectify this to the benefit of American taxpayers.”

The federal government spends more than $80 billion annually on information technology (IT), which means that every dollar should be accounted for, particularly the purchase and use of software licenses.  In May 2014, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued a report that highlighted chronic mismanagement and missed opportunities to save money on software purchases.  In an April 2015 report, GAO recommended that all agencies improve software license management in order to achieve “hundreds of millions of dollars in government-wide savings.”

Cosponsored by 18 Republicans and 10 Democrats, the MEGABYTE Act of 2016 tasks the Office of Management and Budget and chief information officers to keep inventories of software licenses, train their IT management workforce on how to manage software licenses, and use the software license information to manage the agency’s software licenses in accordance with agency policy.  Cost savings and cost avoidance on software would be released in public reports. 

The GAO stated that implementing oversight and management policies of federal software licenses is estimated to save up to $181 million tax dollars per agency per year, or more than $4 billion tax dollars annually.  The MEGABYTE Act focuses agencies on the management of software licensing, ensuring a comprehensive and sustained approach to implement leading practices in software management while preventing needless waste of taxpayer dollars.