Press Release: Rep. Loudermilk Introduces Legislation to Restore Transparency to Federal Technology Practices
Washington, April 14, 2015
Rep. Barry Loudermilk (R-GA) introduced H.R. 1764 today, the United States Chief Technology Officer Act. This legislation would improve transparency in the federal government by requiring the United States Chief Technology Officer (USCTO) to be one of the Senate-confirmed Associate Director positions already in place at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP). This legislation will guarantee that the future USCTO is properly vetted through the Senate confirmation process and ensure proper Congressional oversight of the USCTO.
“Since OSTP policy only permits Senate-confirmed staff to testify before Congress, the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee was faced with serious challenges in conducting a thorough, fact-finding investigation after the failed roll-out of HealthCare.gov,” said Rep. Loudermilk. “Since programs like Obamacare – and others like it – cost millions in hard earned taxpayer money, trust and accountability should always be a top priority across all areas of government. This legislation is crucial to ensuring that Americans are well informed on issues of national importance and would bring an added measure of transparency to federal technological practices.”
Currently, there are no existing laws regarding the duties of the U.S. Chief Technology Officer. In 2013, it was reported that the USCTO was closely involved in the development, implementation, and subsequent repair of HealthCare.gov; however, due to current White House policy, the USCTO was not permitted to appear before Congress.
If signed into law, the USCTO would be able to testify before Congress when the need arises. The chief responsibilities of the USCTO position would include promoting security and privacy protection policies for all Federal information technology systems. The USCTO would also be required to provide an annual report to Congress on the current state of information systems across all Federal Agencies.
“This good government bill seeks to bring more accountability to the White House by requiring the U.S. Chief Technology Officer to be responsive to Congress. I congratulate Rep. Loudermilk for introducing this bill that will promote a more effective and efficient government. I appreciate his taking the initiative to make the federal government more accountable,” said House Science, Space, and Technology Chairman Lamar Smith.
Original cosponsors of the bill include: Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas), Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.), Rep. Bill Johnson (R-Ohio), Rep. Jim Bridenstine (R-Okla.), and Rep. Barbara Comstock (R-Va.).
For additional information on the United States Chief Technology Officer Act, click here.