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FCW : December 2012
20 December 2012 FCW.COM DARRELL ISSA senior counsel for acquisition policy, said the proposal could cut $20 billion from annual IT costs of $81 billion. Issa still plans to pursue the often- contentious oversight part of his domain. But he and other House Repub- licans appear chastened by GOP set- backs in the November elections, after having sought to assert their investiga- tive authority as a political bludgeon against President Barack Obama. Given his committee s purview, Issa s desire to leave a legacy of legislative achievements will likely focus on gov- ernment operations. His desire to get things done comes at an opportune time because leaders of both parties are seeking consensus to spur the economy and reduce the federal de cit. "Darrell has a depth of knowledge on these issues.... And he has enough areas of common ground with the administration, which also has done some very good work in this area," said former Republican Rep. Tom Davis of Virginia. Davis led the oversight com- mittee while in Congress and is now a mentor to Issa. "Now that the elec- tion is over, hopefully they will work together." Overcoming a history of partisan politics Although the two men differ in sig- ni cant ways --- Davis is more con- ciliatory and carved out a niche as a Beltway insider --- he and Issa share a notable expertise in IT. Issa, who was rst elected to Con- gress in 2000, represents upscale San Diego suburbs. His success as owner of Directed Electronics, which became one of the world s largest manufactur- ers of automobile security systems, has made him one of the wealthiest mem- bers of Congress. Issa combined his business skills and accomplishments, which include more than two-dozen patents, with his long-standing inter- est in shaping government policy to become chairman in the 1990s of the Consumer Electronics Association, a high-tech lobbying organization that has worked on both sides of the politi- cal aisle. Issa s draft IT proposal has been cir- culated among interested constituen- cies for their comments and features a notable bipartisan spirit --- an illus- tration that politics can make strange bedfellows. A key section on consoli- dating federal data centers was based on an earlier bill led by Rep. Gerald Connolly (D-Va.) that had sought to codify an initiative launched in 2011 by the Of ce of Management and Budget. "To the chairman s credit, he invit- ed me to help shape his bill," said Connolly, who is ranking member of the oversight committee s Technol- ogy, Information Policy, Intergovern- mental Relations and Procurement Reform Subcommittee. "It s the rst major attempt in a decade to improve acquisition and procurement of federal technology." Connolly said he expects to be a chief co-sponsor of the nal bill when Issa les it early next year. That display of bipartisanship echoes Issa s pledge to collaborate with the Obama administration after the Republicans took over as the major- ity party in the House in 2010, which positioned him for the chairmanship of the oversight committee. "We can show where there are problems in government and where changes can be made," he said in an interview at the time. "Oversight should be done with a balance for the American people and not as a gotcha." Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), right, confers with Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), the House oversight committee's ranking member, at a recent hearing. Issa's efforts to reach across the aisle on IT reform reflect a desire to move beyond partisan politics and improve government operations while saving taxpayer dollars. AP IMAGES
November 30, 2012