During a House Committee on Oversight and Reform committee hearing today, the committee took up two IT-related bills, H.R. 4688 and H.R. 5792, one of which was reported favorably to the House and the other postponed with some resistance from the GOP side of the committee.

The Federal Agency Customer Experience Act of 2021, or FACE Act (H.R. 4688), was reported favorably to the full House chamber. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., would require agencies to collect voluntary customer experience feedback. The agencies would then have to annually publish the feedback on its website and report on the feedback to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB); and report on the solicitation of feedback.

H.R. 5792, or the State and Local Digital Service Act of 2021—also sponsored by Rep. Connolly—was postponed for a recorded vote during the hearing. The legislation would provide $700 million in grant funds to state and local governments to shore up their IT architectures over the course of seven years.

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“If the IT doesn’t work, life-saving benefits can be delayed and the public bears the consequences,” Rep. Connolly said during the hearing. “According to research conducted by the Cyber Space Solarium commission, state and local governments often struggle to fund basic services for their populations and regularly defer it modernization upgrades and digitization in pursuit of shorter term funding priorities that are required.”

Republicans on the committee pushed back against H.R. 5792, stating that Federal government should focus on resolving its own IT holes before spending to assist states.

“This bill calls for the appropriation of $700 million over the next seven fiscal years,” Ranking Member James Comer, R-Ky., said. “That $700 million that the Federal government should not be spending, especially considering the country’s precarious financial situation. The Federal government should focus on getting its own IT house in order before it starts taking on the added challenges.”

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Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith is a MeriTalk Senior Technology Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.