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RELEASE: Reps. Khanna and Ratcliffe introduce legislation for more efficient digital government

May 10, 2018
Press Release
The 21st Century IDEA enhances citizen services, reduces costs and digitizes government processes

Washington, DC – Reps. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) and John Ratcliffe (R-Texas) introduced legislation today to improve citizens’ interaction with the federal government online, while reducing the cost of assistance from federal agencies. 

The 21st Century Integrated Digital Experience Act (IDEA) will lower federal costs and increase efficiency by digitizing government processes and establishing minimum standards for federal websites, including mobile-friendly interfaces in compliance with the latest security protocols.

Recent data from the IRS shows that in-person or live assistance calls to the agency cost taxpayers between $40 and $60 on average, while digital transactions cost only $0.22 on average. By allowing more in-person transactions to be replaced with online transactions, the 21st Century Idea modernization will reduce such federal costs significantly.

“The 21st Century IDEA enables accessible and efficient government resources, reduces production costs, and encourages continuous digital enhancement,” Rep. Khanna said. “Government exists to serve citizens, and this bill ensures government leverages available technology to provide the cohesive, user-friendly online service that people around this country expect and deserve.”

“The federal government exists to serve American people, and the 21st Century IDEA will ensure we’re meeting our citizens’ needs in the most efficient, cost-effective way possible,” Rep. Ratcliffe said. “Our bill takes advantage of new and emerging technologies that can drastically improve the way our federal agencies provide critical services to folks across the country, including people with disabilities or those who live in rural areas with limited access to traditional, in-person assistance services.”

Original cosponsors include, Reps. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.), John Ratcliffe (R-Texas), Barbara Comstock (R-Va.), Gerald E. Connolly (D-Va.), Ryan Costello (R-Pa.), John R. Curtis (R-Utah), Anna G. Eshoo (D-Calif.), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.), Duncan D. Hunter (R-Calif.), Robin Kelly (D-Ill.), Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Ill.), Brenda Lawrence (D-Mich.), Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.), Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), Steve Russell (R-Okla.), and Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ).

More information about the 21st Century IDEA is available here.


Statements of Support:


Microsoft, Corporate Vice President, U.S. Government Affairs, Fred Humphries:

“Technology is rapidly transforming the way we live, work, and do business. U.S. Reps. Ro Khanna of California and John Ratcliffe of Texas are right to bring this digital transformation to improve consumer interaction with the federal government online. Their 21st Century Integrated Digital Experience Act (IDEA) is a strong, bipartisan step forward.”


Adobe, Vice President & Public Sector Chief Technology Officer, John Landwehr:

“There is a growing gap between the digital expectations of citizens and government’s current digital services – and this legislation would be a key step towards closing that gap by transforming digital government services and improving citizen experiences. Representatives Khanna and Ratcliffe’s legislation would set clear benchmarks and speed up the timeline for departments to modernize vital digital services like providing electronic signatures and building more accessible websites and forms.”


Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, Vice President, Daniel Castro:

“Citizens deserve access to secure and convenient government services online. Unfortunately, many federal agencies still use outdated, paper-based processes, instead of modern, digital ones. This legislation would steer federal agencies towards developing sites that make government services more efficient, more secure, and easier to use.”


BSA | The Software Alliance, Vice President, Legislative Strategy, Craig Albright:

“Software plays a critical role in the delivery of government services in the digital age. The 21st Century IDEA Act promotes the modernization of digital government services, and it will be an important step to accelerate the benefits federal agencies and constituents can receive through the use of innovative technologies.”  


Oracle, Vice President for Government Affairs, Jason Mahler:

“The 21st Century Integrated Digital Experience Act (21st Century IDEA Act) would mandate that the US Government provide better information and digital services to citizens, which is good government at its core. We fully support efforts that make government less burdensome, especially when it comes to improving day to day interactions with agencies and government offices.”


SIIA, Vice President for Public Policy, Mark MacCarthy:

“While the government is making substantial progress towards embracing cloud computing and replacing legacy IT systems, many citizen services remain trapped in a 20th Century analog world. American citizens expect and deserve greater efficiency from the government, such as digital services that keep pace with innovation and let us manage our lives through connected devices anywhere, at any time.

“SIIA supports the 21st Century IDEA Act because it will create a digital services strategy to enhance citizen-facing digital services and improve customer experience, while also substantially reducing costs. This legislation will help to modernize federal agency websites, support the increasing use of mobile devices, digitize government processes, transition away paper-based forms and in-person interactions, and leverage electronic signatures, and create a 21st Century digital experience for citizens.

“SIIA applauds Congressmen Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA) and John Ratcliffe (R-TX) for introducing this legislation to provide American citizens with modern, cost effective digital government services.”


 ServiceNow, Director of Federal Strategy & Business Development, Michael J. McCalip:

“The U.S. government continually ranks near the bottom of most major surveys when it comes to customer experience and this has to change.  In the 21st Century citizens and government employees have come to expect an experience that is more akin to what they have in their daily lives – mobile enabled, fast, intuitive and customized to meet their needs.  Leveraging new and innovative technologies can help government improve customer experience and satisfaction, while reducing costs and increasing efficiency.  

As a leading provider of customer service solutions to governments around the world, ServiceNow knows first-hand how technology can change the digital government experience.  Our technology, which is being deployed across U.S. federal agencies, is starting  to transform customer service by connecting departments, workflows, and systems to proactively resolve customer issues and provide critical information, while also providing a personalized experience for citizen-customers and automating and reducing case volume for federal employees.

We applaud Reps. Ro Khanna of California and John Ratcliffe of Texas for recognizing the role technology can play to improving the customer experience and for introducing the 21st Century Integrated Digital Experience Act.  This legislation, when enacted, will take IT modernization to the next level.  The bill’s requirements that the federal government modernize websites and digitize government processes to eliminate paper and existing, costly manual processes is exactly what the federal government needs to do to provide  21st Century digital services to its citizenry.  We look forward to working with Reps. Khanna and Ratcliffe and the 12 other cosponsors of this important legislation as it moves forward.”





Heather Purcell (Khanna), 202-225-2631        

Rachel Stephens (Ratcliffe), 202-225-6673