Jason Miller at GCN does a great job in reporting on OMB’s report to Congress which attempts to salvage funding for e‑gov projects. The crux of OMB’s problem is that Congress assigns money to each agency for specified purposes but has never done so explicitly for e‑government projects at those agencies. So when OMB coerced agencies to give money to Grants.gov, e‑Rulemaking, and others as part of cross-servicing efforts, Congress saw it as an attempt to wrestle away their total control of how the budget they created should be used. That’s now bitten OMB badly, and puts the future of Grants.gov, the other e‑gov projects, and OMB’s Lines of Business initiative in doubt.
The reports lays out the e‑gov initiatives in which each agency is participating, their level of involvement, the funding they have provided to the initiatives, and the results and benefits of their participation. It’s the first time I’ve seen a comprehensive aggregation of all the data about who’s doing what and the budgets associated with e‑gov efforts, so it makes very interesting reading.
It could be said that the future of cross-agency service centers hangs on this report. OMB is pretty sure that things will move forward, one way or another, but Congress could easily put the brakes on everything, if it so desires. Watch this space.