Clinton signs bill giving agencies Year 2000 money

President Clinton on May 1 signed a supplemental appropriations bill that will earmark close to $86 million for some agencies to pay for Year 2000 fixes in this fiscal year.

The 1998 Supplemental Appropriations and Rescissions Act will set aside $40.8 million for the Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service to spend on fixing computers that cannot properly process dates after 1999.

But to make room for the additional appropriations for Treasury, the new law takes away from the IRS $30.3 million that had been appropriated for a range of information technology investments.

"We are confident that the amount of money that we got will be sufficient to keep all our mission-critical systems on target for Y2K compliance," said Jim Flyzik, the chief information officer at Treasury. "We do feel comfortable that we do now have the dollars that we need for this fiscal year."

Flyzik said the new appropriations largely will go to fix the millennium bug in the department's telecommunications software and equipment. He said his agency had been seeking close to $70 million in additional money to put toward the Year 2000 problem and that the lesser amount appropriated means the department has had to reprogram money internally.

Congress also gave $25 million to the Federal Aviation Administration for the Year 2000 and $20 million to the Health Care Financing Administration, which manages Medicare, to remedy its Year 2000 problem.

Olga Grkavac, senior vice president of the Information Technology Association of America's Systems Integration Division, applauded the new appropriations but said she was still surprised that agencies are not doing more to fund Year 2000 fixes. "We continue to be surprised that more agencies do not request additional funds or do more reprogramming," she said.

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