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February 9, 1999

H.R. 439 - Paperwork Elimination Act of 1999
(Talent (R) MO and 10 cosponsors)

The Administration has a strong record of support for electronic commerce. We have supported the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (P.L. 104-13), and the Information Technology Management Reform Act of 1996 (P.L. 104-16), which encourage and direct executive agencies to use information technology that would enable them to collect and use information through electronic means, where it makes programmatic and economic sense to do so. The Administration also supported passage of the Government Paperwork Elimination Act of 1998 (GPEA; P.L. 105-277), which was enacted just this past fall, and is actively implementing its provisions. Under this Act, agencies and OMB are already making progress according to the timetables and procedures that GPEA established.

When agencies are working to implement a new system, it is important that guidelines and timetables be consistent and clear. Unfortunately, H.R. 439 might well be interpreted as superseding the GPEA just as agencies have begun to implement it. For this reason, the Administration has strong concerns that H.R. 439 could create confusion about procedures and deadlines, and set back the very progress it is intended to advance.

It is too soon after passage of GPEA to re-legislate these issues. We hope the Congress gives the GPEA a chance to work, and gives agencies a chance to gain the efficiencies that we all support.

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