WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA) and Gary Peters’ (D-MI) legislation to save taxpayer dollars by improving management of how the federal government purchases and uses software has advanced in the Senate. The Strengthening Agency Management and Oversight of Software Assets Act (SAMOSA) would require agencies to conduct an independent, comprehensive assessment of their software licensing practices. This would be used by Congress, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), and the General Services Administration (GSA) to increase federal oversight of software contracts in order to streamline operations and reduce wasteful spending. The legislation was approved by the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee and now moves to the full Senate for consideration.
“Taxpayers expect us to be responsible with their money. The government should not be overpaying for software when the same product is available for less,” said Dr. Cassidy. “We are one step closer to ensuring agencies spend their money as if a taxpayer was spending their own money—wisely.”
“Requiring federal agencies to improve how they track their software purchases will reduce waste, strengthen cybersecurity, and modernize government operations,” said Senator Peters. “This bipartisan bill will save taxpayer dollars in the long run by improving how the federal government buys software.”
Billions of dollars are spent on software purchases and license modifications every year. Agencies lack of visibility of what they have already purchased, combined with the way vendors sell software, often leads to duplicative purchases and limits agencies’ ability to conduct their own oversight of these purchases. The senators’ legislation would help agencies create a plan to purchase software in a more cost-effective manner.
The SAMOSA would require federal agencies to provide an independent, comprehensive assessment of their software purchasing practices to Congress, OMB, and GSA. The findings of these assessments will help federal Chief Information Officers (CIOs) to better manage how agencies acquire IT products. These actions will reduce costs, improve governance, and enhance agency performance. The legislation will allow agencies to receive fairer, more cost-competitive deals on their software assets and achieve important IT modernization goals.
The legislation builds on a law written by Peters and Cassidy to reduce duplicative software purchases called the MEGABYTE Act. Since being signed into law in 2016, this legislation has saved taxpayers more than $450 million.