Budget cuts are forcing the White House to abandon plans for two new Web sites tied to President Obama’s ambitious open government efforts.
Officials with the Office of Management and Budget said Tuesday they’re scrapping a site that would have allowed federal employees to swap work tips and information and another that would have provided information on the quality of federal services to the general public.
The cuts come after budget negotiators last month slashed the Electronic Government Fund from a requested $35 million to just $8 million. The fund helps finance government sites that track federal data, government contracting, government information technology and overall performance (respectively, Data.gov, USASpending.gov, the IT Dashboard and Performance.gov).
Those sites will continue at current levels, but “several projects will experience a sharp decline given the limited amount of funding,” White House Chief Information Officer Vivek Kundra said in a letter to Sen. Thomas R. Carper (D-Del.) Tuesday. “No project will go unaffected.”
Carper, who chairs a subcommittee overseeing federal technology projects, asked the White House last month to detail which technology projects might suffer with the budget cuts.
Open government advocates bemoaned the cuts, saying they will prohibit necessary enhancements to sites that have pushed government transparency efforts to historic levels.
Kundra said the cuts will mean delays in getting new datasets up on Data.gov and will force officials to postpone other enhancements to the IT Dashboard. But he noted that the White House is asking Congress to restore the E-gov funding in the fiscal 2012 budget “and if we receive that level of funding, we will revisit each of these initiatives,” he said.
Have you used any of these sites? Are the budget cuts justified? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.
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