House restores some e-gov funding in CR

Tuesday - 4/5/2011, 4:34pm EDT

By Jason Miller
Executive Editor
Federal News Radio

Several of the Obama administration's openness and transparency initiatives may be getting a reprieve.

The House Appropriations Committee included $17 million for the E-Government Fund in the latest continuing resolution to fund the government for the rest of fiscal 2011.

It still is far below the $35 million the administration requested and below the $20 million the Senate approved, but it will stave off the need to shut down eight sites and one initiative starting in May.

"I think there is an awful lot that is going to happen between now and when we finally get the government funded for the rest of this year and next year, but certainly there is a recognition that money was needed," said Rep. Jo Ann Emerson (R-Mo.), chairwoman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government after a hearing on the General Services Administration's 2012 budget request.

Committee chairman Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) introduced a new version of a continuing resolution late Monday night to keep the government open for at least another week. The bill includes the money for the E-Government fund, a full bill for the Defense Department for all of 2011 and $12 billion in cuts to federal discretionary spending.

"This bill is not the preferable way to go forward, and I would greatly prefer to come to a final agreement with the Senate to put this long-overdue budget work behind us," Rogers said in a statement. "However, we must maintain critical programs and services for the American people and protect our nation's financial future. This legislation gives us this option, while exacting a price for [Senate] Leader [Harry] Reid's delays and allowing time to finally begin honest negotiations."

The bill also includes $34 million for GSA's Federal Citizen Services Fund and $7.5 billion for the Federal Buildings Fund.

At the subcommittee hearing on Tuesday, GSA Administrator Martha Johnson said the e-government fund is critical in keeping these open government tools helping citizens understand how the government works.

"The public gets accustomed to using these new tools," Johnson said. "For instance, USASpending.gov saw their traffic increase by 30 percent last year."

(Copyright 2011 by FederalNewsRadio.com. All Rights Reserved.)