Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) has introduced the Digital Service Act, which will “empower state and local governments to invest in digital services” to update and rebuild government systems. In addition, the legislation will boost the U.S. Digital Service (USDS), which supports the federal government in serving the American people, while also saving citizens billions of dollars.
“Americans deserve a government that works for them, and that just plain works,” said Harris in a press release. “We must do more to empower our state and local governments to tap into the power of technology to provide seamless, cost-effective services for the 21st century. The Digital Service Act will help harness top talent for the government, save taxpayer dollars and put the power of technology to work on behalf of the American people.”
The Digital Service Act, which has the support of Code for America and the Center for Democracy and Technology, would provide $50 million annually for the U.S. Digital Service, as well as $15 million each year for state and local governments to receive two-year seed grants for digital services.
The Act would also require at least 50 percent of each grant to be used for talent, order grantees to report on outcomes before the end of the two-year period and have the USDS report to Congress on the impact of these grants biannually.
“For too long, we have neglected the machinery of government. The Digital Service Act represents an opportunity to help [the] government move fully into the digital age — to get better outcomes that cost less and, ultimately, rebuild faith and trust in our public institutions. The Digital Service Act would be an important step [toward] making government truly work for all Americans,” said Jennifer Pahlka, executive director of Code for America and former U.S. deputy chief technology officer.