Lawmakers talk agency performance plans, TMF

During a hearing before a subcommittee of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, agency officials and lawmakers talked about the potential difficulties posed by TMF repayment requirements when some modernization efforts don’t result in easily quantifiable cost savings.

US Congress House side Shutterstock photo ID: 156615524 By mdgn editorial use only
 

A bipartisan bill introduced in the House on Friday takes aim at updating the process for agencies’ creation of congressionally mandated performance plans.

Agencies are required to make publically available performance plans annually that lay out their strategic goals and objectives. The law mandating this process requires agencies’ chief human capital officers to help create the plans, but Reps. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.), chair of the Subcommittee on Government Operations of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, and Jody Hice (R-Ga.), the panel’s ranking member, want to require more agency leaders to take part in this process.

“You’d think the things this bill requires would be common sense – when making an agency performance plan, use the people with the right expertise and take into account what it’s going to take to set realistic performance goals and make this plan work,” Hice said in a statement about the bill. “But that’s not always the case. This costs valuable resources, and it has to change if we want to stop wasting time and money.”

The bill, called the Performance Enhancement Reform Act, would amend current code to require agencies to both include more leaders in the process and explicitly consider human capital and IT in the plan.

If passed, it would loop CIOs, chief data officers and chief financial officers into the process. It would also require plans to include descriptions of agencies’ human capital needs and planning in addition to their technology modernization investments, strategies and needs.

The bill was introduced during a hearing on April 16, one of two oversight hearings held annually on the Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act (FITARA).

Connolly praised the bipartisan nature of the subcommittee’s work on IT issues, saying during the hearing that “we don’t agree on a lot of things, but when it comes to IT modernization, we’ve had bipartisan harmony coming out of this subcommittee.”

Lawmakers and agency representatives also talked about the recent $1 billion investment in the Technology Modernization Fund.

House Democrats on the committee have pressed the administration to give a plan for how TMF will use these new funds, which skyrocketed far above the usual appropriations the fund receives of around $25 million, and how they’ll ensure the continuity of the revolving fund’s self-sustaining set up. Currently, agencies are required to pay TMF back within five years unless they get an exemption.

However, some industry and government officials have said the reimbursement requirements can pose difficulties for agencies that need money to do updates that might not necessarily result in cost-savings.

“Several of the agencies have said that the reimbursement model itself is cumbersome, especially for IT projects that are critical to the mission but might not realize costs,” said Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.). “What other considerations should congress and the administration take into account other than projects that realize hard costs?”

Many modernization projects that don’t have apparent cost savings will still result in better services for citizens and users, said Kevin Walsh, the director for information technology and cybersecurity issues at the Government Accountability Office.

“When you replace a bicycle with a motor car, will it result in savings? The motor car will require sometimes more to maintain, but it takes [you] farther and faster,” said Department of Labor CIO Gundeep Ahluwalia.

Ahluwalia also talked about the way Labor already is successfully using TMF funding for IT initiatives.

“In 2018, we used TMF funding to streamline the temporary labor certification program from a paper-based to a completely digital process, resulting in a $2 million annual savings for the department,” he said. ‘”I shudder to think what would have happened to that printing operation during COVID-19.”

DOL recently secured its second set of funding – $9.6 million for modernizing its enterprise data infrastructure.

Other agency leaders said that TMF hasn’t served as the right tool for them to pursue more innovative projects. U.S. Agency for International Development CIO Jay Mahanand said his agency’s proposals to use TMF funding for innovative projects have been turned down.

“So I think on the TMF, my two cents is that it’s also looking not just at modernization, but getting to … where agencies can use that money to innovate and be better at that,” he said.

NEXT STORY: Quick Hits: April 16

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.