Houses Passes Bennet’s Bipartisan Bill to Consolidate Federal IT Infrastructure, Save Taxpayer Dollars

Included in Defense Bill, Senate to Debate Next Week

Washington, DC - The House of Representatives passed Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet's bipartisan bill to expedite the consolidation of federal data centers that could save up to $3 billion in taxpayer dollars. The Federal Data Center Consolidation Act, cosponsored by Senators Tom Coburn (R-OK), Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), and Homeland Security and Government Affairs Chairman Tom Carper (D-DE), was included in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), an annual bill authorizing funding for the Pentagon.

"This bill is an important step toward a smarter, more efficient way to operate government and save taxpayer dollars," Bennet said. "It will also help reduce energy consumption and costs going forward. These are ambitious yet achievable goals. We're glad to see the House has passed this bill and that the Senate is expected to debate it next week."

The bill sets hard deadlines and requires federal agencies that have yet to act on consolidation initiatives to conduct inventories and implement consolidation strategies. In addition, the law would require the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to verify agency data center inventories, and would direct the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to routinely report to Congress on cost savings realized to date.

A number of studies have shown a relatively low utilization rate of the current IT infrastructure, resulting in an enormous amount of wasted space and energy - and unnecessary costs. In 2010, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) instructed federal agencies to develop consolidation plans under the administration's Federal Data Center Consolidation Initiative (FDCCI), which could save up to $3 billion by 2015, according to the GAO, with additional savings beyond that date. However, the GAO also found that a number of agencies have been slow to implement these plans - or, in some cases, to inventory the total number of data centers they currently manage.

The GAO has publicly endorsed the legislation, saying it is vital to ensure that agencies close down unnecessary data centers by the target deadline. The senators have worked closely with OMB and GAO to ensure that this bill will help strengthen the initiative and achieve meaningful savings.

The bill is also supported by the Professional Services Council and the Information Technology Industry Council.