Bill to codify innovation fellows program passes Senate

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A bill to codify the Presidential Innovation Fellows program is headed to the president’s desk after having stalled in the previous Congress.

The program, which embeds private-sector innovators into federal agencies for a yearlong tour, launched in 2012 during the Obama administration. Fellows — known as PIFs — have contributed to major federal technology projects such as the launch of, the Police Data Initiative, Blue Button and the RFP-EZ platform.

The bill, known as the TALENT ACT, passed in the House last July, but the Senate’s companion bill, introduced in November, languished there. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy reintroduced the bill this month, and it passed the House on Jan. 11. The Senate cleared it Tuesday.

[Read more: Effort to codify Presidential Innovation Fellows program is back in House]

The bill is part of the Innovation Initiative spearheaded by McCarthy. A few other bills from the initiative’s portfolio passed the House last week.

“The innovation initiative is about harnessing innovation to spur growth in our economy and reform government to be more efficient and effective,” McCarthy said in a statement provided to FedScoop last week via email. “Last year the House passed 32 bills in our efforts to achieve this. Swift consideration of innovation bills this year underscores our continued to commitment to the technological opportunities facing our country. I look forward to building on last year’s success with results.”

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Kevin McCarthy, Presidential Innovation Fellows