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New Cartwright Legislation Will Save Taxpayer Dollars by Improving Federal Software Purchasing Protocols

The Strengthening Agency Management and Oversight of Software Assets Act builds on Cartwright’s MEGABYTE Act that has already saved U.S. taxpayers more than $450 million

Today, U.S. Representative Matt Cartwright (PA-08) introduced the Strengthening Agency Management and Oversight of Software Assets Act, bipartisan legislation to increase oversight of federal government software purchases and reduce wasteful spending of taxpayer dollars.  

Each year, the federal government spends billions of taxpayer dollars on software purchases, renewals, and license modifications. Limited assessments of existing software assets, combined with the way vendors sell software, often results in federal agencies making duplicative purchases. Without increased agency oversight and governance, software vendors profit at the expense of American taxpayers.  

The Strengthening Agency Management and Oversight of Software Assets Act would require federal agencies to conduct an independent, comprehensive assessment of their current software assets and restructure their operations to reduce unnecessary costs.

“Without in-depth assessments of how agencies buy and use software, vendors often have the upper hand in transactions with federal agencies,” said Rep. Cartwright. “This bipartisan, bicameral legislation will streamline software procurement practices governmentwide to the benefit of American taxpayers.”

The Strengthening Agency Management and Oversight of Software Assets Act builds on the success of Rep. Cartwright’s MEGABYTE Act, which reduced duplicative software purchases. Signed into law in 2016, the bipartisan MEGABYTE Act has saved American taxpayers over $450 million.

Specifically, this new legislation would require:

·        Federal agencies to provide an independent, comprehensive assessment of their software purchasing practices to Congress, the Office of Management and Budget, (OMB), and the General Services Administration (GSA);

·        Chief Information Officers (CIOs) to develop a plan to adopt enterprise licensing agreements, improving negotiating power against software vendors, and reduce costs;  

·        OMB to publish a governmentwide strategy for software modernization based on the aforementioned audits and plans; and

·        Agencies to include their respective plans and performance assessments in annual budget submissions.  

This legislation is cosponsored by U.S. Reps. Dan Meuser (R-PA-09), Ed Case (D-HI-01), Gerry Connolly (D-VA-11), Danny Davis (D-IL-07), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA-01), Glenn Grothman (R-WI-6), Michael Guest (R-MS-03), Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX-18), Brenda Lawrence (D-MI-14), Mike Levin (D-CA-49), Ted Lieu (D-CA-33), ,Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC-AL), Katie Porter (D-CA-45), and Jamie Raskin (D-MD-08).

Senators Gary Peters (D-MI) and Bill Cassidy (R-LA) introduced companion legislation in September, which advanced out of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.

This legislation has received the support of the Coalition for Fair Software Licensing, the Computer & Communications Industry Association, NetChoice, and SIE Consulting Group.

“Taxpayers deserve to have their dollars used efficiently. Restrictive software licensing prevents customers, including federal agencies, from utilizing the most innovative, secure, and cost-effective software and cloud services. The result is hard-earned taxpayer dollars wasted by inflexible and opaque licensing agreements,” said Coalition for Fair Software Licensing Executive Director Ryan Triplette. “The Coalition for Fair Software Licensing applauds the introduction of The Strengthening Agency Management and Oversight of Software Assets Act in the House today by Representative Cartwright. The bipartisan, bicameral legislation demonstrates the growing momentum against restrictive software licensing practices in the U.S by establishing a process to identify IT budget redundancies and ensure that every Department and agency gets the most out of their IT spend.”