Sen. Gary Peters, D-Mich., chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, introduced legislation this week to make permanent the General Service Administration’s Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP), and ensure that Federal agencies can quickly and securely adopt cloud technologies.

The bipartisan legislation was to be considered during a committee markup today, but was instead held over to continue working on the and attempt to find it a place in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).

The Senate bill closely tracks legislation sponsored by Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., and approved by the House earlier this year.

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Sen. Peters’ office said the Federal Secure Cloud Improvement and Jobs Act would “make FedRAMP more accountable to the American people and create private sector jobs in companies that provide cloud services.”

“Cloud-based systems have already shown they can greatly improve government efficiency and save taxpayer dollars, but we must ensure that the technology is safe from relentless cyberattacks,” said Sen. Peters. “This important bipartisan bill will make sure that agencies can procure cloud-based technology quickly, while ensuring these systems – and the information they store – are secure. It will also help companies that provide these technologies grow and create jobs, and incentivize them to provide innovative products to bolster our nation’s competitiveness in this space.”

Among other things, the bill also would modernize the process through which cloud products are deemed safe and can receive FedRAMP authorization, establish metrics to ensure proper implementation of FedRAMP, and require the creation of a Federal Secure Cloud Advisory Committee to improve communication between Federal agencies utilizing cloud technologies and the companies providing them.

The legislation also would authorize $20 million to operate FedRAMP.

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Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith is a MeriTalk Senior Technology Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.