H.R. 4904, Making Electronic Government Accountable By Yielding Tangible Efficiencies (MEGABYTE) Act of 2016

H.R. 4904

Making Electronic Government Accountable By Yielding Tangible Efficiencies (MEGABYTE) Act of 2016

Rep. Matt Cartwright

June 7, 2016 (114th Congress, 2nd Session)

Staff Contact
John Huston

Floor Situation

On Tuesday, June 7, 2016, the House will consider H.R. 4904, the Making Electronic Government Accountable By Yielding Tangible Efficiencies (MEGABYTE) Act of 2016, under suspension of the rules.  The bill was introduced on April 12, 2016 by Rep. Matt Cartwright (D-PA) and referred to the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, which ordered the bill reported by voice vote on April 14, 2016.

Bill Summary

H.R. 4904 would improve federal agencies’ management and acquisition of software licenses by requiring the Director of the Office and Management and Budget to issue a directive on software licenses that would require each agency Chief Information Officer (CIO) to more efficiently track and utilize software licenses inventories. Specifically, the bill requires each CIO, among other things, to establish a comprehensive software license inventory, regularly track and maintain software licenses, and provide training relevant to software license management.


In Fiscal Year (FY) 2015, the federal government spent over $80 billion on Information Technology (IT) products and services, and $9 billion on software licenses. In a 2015, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) designated IT acquisition as a high risk area, meaning acquisitions were prone to significant vulnerabilities to fraud, waste, abuse, and mismanagement.[1]

In 2014, GAO has found that the federal government enters into thousands of software license agreements annually and that more effective management of software licenses could result in fewer duplicate licenses and licenses that go unused. However, GAO found only two of 24 major agencies had comprehensive software licensing policies in place and only two agencies had comprehensive license inventories. Further, GAO said federal agencies were not generally following leading best practices identified by GAO for managing software licenses.[2] GAO stated that, “until the agencies have sufficient direction from OMB, opportunities to systematically identify software license related cost savings across the federal government will likely continue to be missed.”[3]

In December 2015, OMB released draft guidance on strategies for improving federal government spending of more than $9 billion on software. The draft guidance would establish an Enterprise Software Category Team (co-managed by OMB, the General Services Administration, and the Department of Defense) to develop government-wide software license agreements and encourage the use of best-in-class existing software licensing agreements. According to the Committee, H.R. 4904 will build on the 2015 OMB directive and will ensure a comprehensive and sustained approach to implement leading practices in software management, as identified by GAO.[4]

[1] See House Report 114-587
[2] Id.
[3] GAO Report (May 2014) (GAO–14–413) at 7.
[4] See House Report 114-587


The Congressional Budget Office estimates that enacting H.R. 4904 would have no significant net impact on the federal budget over the next five years. The bill could affect direct spending by agencies not funded through annual appropriations; therefore, pay-as-you-go procedures apply. CBO estimates, however, that any net change in spending by those agencies would not be significant. Enacting H.R. 4904 would not affect revenues.

Additional Information

For questions about amendments or further information on the bill, contact John Huston with the House Republican Policy Committee by email or at 6-5539.