Bipartisan legislation to streamline government spending and reduce waste clears key hurdle
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the Source Code Harmonization And Reuse in Information Technology (SHARE IT) Act, legislation introduced by U.S. Senate Commerce Committee Ranking Member Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and U.S. Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Gary Peters (D-Mich.), cleared a key hurdle after it passed the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee unanimously.
This bipartisan legislation would require government agencies to share custom-developed source code with each other—thereby avoiding duplicative government contracts to build software.
Sen. Cruz said:
“Each year, federal agencies spend billions for software that may be duplicative because it is not shared between agencies, despite existing infrastructure to do so. I am hopeful that this bipartisan, common-sense legislation will quickly pass the Senate and become law so that we can begin holding federal agencies accountable for sharing the code they procure and save taxpayer funds by doing so.”
Chairman Peters added:
“Ensuring the federal government is sharing code across agencies will save taxpayers money, increase digital efficiency for government services, strengthen security and enable innovation in software. This bipartisan bill is a critical step forward in advancing the digital capacity of the federal government and will benefit Americans as they access government services online.”
Currently, the federal government spends approximately $12 billion annually purchasing software, including software that is “custom-developed” for agencies, such as websites, analytical models, and apps. Despite the fact that much custom-developed code is not classified or sensitive, agencies generally do not make custom software available to one another, even though there is an existing website created for agencies to do so. This inefficiency results in duplicative government contracts and needless spending when agencies hire contractors to reproduce code that another agency has already procured.
The SHARE IT Act improves and updates federal source code policy by requiring agencies to publicly list custom code they make or buy and share this code with the rest of the government, and ensures transparency by requiring agencies to publicly list their custom code. The legislation contains exceptions for code made for national security systems, classified code, or code whose disclosure would create an identifiable risk to individual privacy.
The SHARE IT Act requires no additional funding, as agencies already have the flexibility to share code via existing government infrastructure like code.gov, open-source tools like Git, or commercial platforms like GitHub or Bitbucket.
Learn more about the SHARE IT Act HERE.
Read the full text of the SHARE IT Act HERE.