Representatives Rosendale, Mrvan, and Banks Fight For VA IT Accountability
Washington, March 29, 2021
Washington, DC -- Today, Representative Rosendale, ranking member of the House Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee on Technology Modernization, introduced the VA Information Technology (IT) Reform Act of 2021. As the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) undertakes major IT modernization projects it is critical that Congress has complete information to conduct oversight to ensure the necessary reforms are taking place in an efficient and effective manner.
The bipartisan VA IT Reform Act prevents the VA from starting new major IT projects before submitting to Congress a cost estimate, schedule, and performance goals for each project. This legislation would provide Congress the same information the VA already submits to the Office of Management and Budget, including annual reviews of the VA’s IT portfolio and reports on the progress of projects. Without basic information, it is impossible for Congress to hold the VA accountable in the management of its multi-billion-dollar IT budget.
“Our veterans are our nation’s heroes and we need to ensure that the VA is working effectively and efficiently to serve them. Congress should not have to horse-trade with the agency to get basic information about its projects to ensure taxpayer dollars are being spent effectively,” said Ranking Member Rosendale. “The VA IT Reform Act would require the VA to update Congress on IT projects using information that they already have on hand. Before Congress appropriates billions of dollars, we need to know what VA's plans are so we can provide the oversight that veterans and taxpayers need and deserve.”
“As Chairman of the Subcommittee on Technology Modernization, we must constantly keep in mind how we can improve the lives of veterans and strive for increased transparency of VA’s IT upgrades,” said Chairman Mrvan. “I am pleased to join Ranking Member Rosendale in this initiative to help ensure that VA complies with our oversight of its major IT projects. I would note that this bipartisan legislation importantly would require VA to use management teams from across the department in its decision-making processes, which will allow all the key players in VA’s IT projects to have a seat at the table, and ultimately help improve services for our veterans.”
“Building a more modern, customer service-focused VA means replacing outdated IT systems, and the Department has more of these projects underway now than at any time in its history,” said Rep. Banks. “Unfortunately, VA’s management has not yet caught up to the scale of the effort. The VA IT Reform Act would create a uniform process to track cost, schedule, and performance for every large IT project and give Congress more information to provide oversight. These management reforms are long overdue, and I thank Reps. Rosendale and Mrvan for introducing this important legislation with me.”