Senate ready to dole out more Y2K money to feds

Although federal agencies have not spent all of the $3.25 billion that Congress earmarked last year to help make Year 2000 fixes to computer systems, the senator in charge of Year 2000 oversight plans to make more available—just in case.

Sen. Robert Bennett (R-Utah), chairman of the Senate's Special Committee on the Year 2000 Technology Problem, said today that thoroughly fixing the millennium bug may take more money because time is limited.

"My own experience with the federal government tells me, yeah, there will be a need for more emergency funding," Bennett said.

He said Congress should be careful not to let agencies fund pet projects under the guise of fixing Year 2000 problems, but he also said Congress should not prevent agencies from obtaining more money if they truly need it.

According to federal budget documents, non-Defense agencies have spent more than half of the $2.25 billion in emergency Year 2000 money Congress set aside last year that was designated for use until the end of fiscal year 2001. Congress also gave the Defense Department $1 billion. President Clinton has requested no additional emergency Year 2000 money.

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