Congress

White House pushes Congress to pass $3.1B IT modernization fund

U.S. Capitol at Night

The White House is preparing to send Congress new legislation that dives further into the revolving $3.1 billion IT modernization fund.

"I know they are preparing to transmit legislation to the Hill," said Sean Casey, a policy adviser at the Office of Management and Budget, during a MeriTalk event on the Federal IT Acquisition Reform Act. "Obviously [Federal CIO] Tony Scott testified about it and advocated" for the IT modernization fund.

Casey said further discussions would take place if Congress decides to enact the measure.

The Obama administration proposed the fund to serve as a mechanism for agencies to upgrade legacy IT to more modern, cloud-based systems. Savings agencies achieve on the back end would be repaid into the fund. It is envisioned that the fund could address $12 billion in modernization projects over the course of 10 years.

The fund recently failed to pass as an amendment to the fiscal 2017 budget resolution in the House Budget Committee.

Lawmakers have raised concerns about the amount of money that has already been allocated for IT modernization efforts and have questioned why an additional $3 billion is needed.

"You need to look at each agency individually, and you also need to look at those funds and ensure the way that those funds will come out, and you need to really make sure Congress is on board with what they are being used for," David Powner, director of IT management issues at the Government Accountability Office, told the audience. He added that it's important to have the right process in place to manage the funds.

As OMB proceeds with its guidance on the fund, Sens. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) and Tom Udall (D-N.M.) are refreshing the language in their Cloud Infrastructure Transition Act of 2015. The legislation would give new authority to the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program to speed accreditation of commercial cloud providers, establish a framework for the federal CIO to set up working capital funds for IT modernization and task agencies with strict reporting requirements designed to expose their reliance on obsolete technology.

Former House staffer Rich Beutel, who helped draft FITARA, has been advising current Senate staffers on the cloud bill. Beutel, who now leads consulting firm Cyrrus Analytics, told FCW he hopes lawmakers will release something next week to position the bill for markup by the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. There's not much time left on the legislative calendar before the election season makes substantive action difficult.

Beutel was not aware of the timing of legislation coming from the administration on IT modernization but said he hoped the bills could move in parallel to emphasize to Congress the need for updating legacy IT systems. If the White House delivers a bill alongside the Senate measure, it would be "instrumental in aligning the stars" for Congress in a "very tough fiscal environment," he added.

About the Author

Aisha Chowdhry is a staff writer covering Congress, the State Department, the Department of Veteran Affairs and the Department of Homeland Security.

Prior to joining FCW, Chowdhry covered foreign policy for CQ Roll Call. Her overseas work prior to that took her to Pakistan and Afghanistan. She has worked as a correspondent for Reuters based out of Islamabad. Chowdhry has also worked at the CBS affiliate in Washington as a multimedia journalist. She began her career as a freelance reporter for USA Today and covered stories from conflict zones. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, Foreign Policy, and Voice of America, among others.

Chowdhry received her masters in broadcast journalism from American University in Washington, D.C.

Click here for previous articles by Chowdhry, or connect with her on Twitter: @aishach


The Fed 100

Save the date for 28th annual Federal 100 Awards Gala.

Featured

  • Social network, census

    5 predictions for federal IT in 2017

    As the Trump team takes control, here's what the tech community can expect.

  • Rep. Gerald Connolly

    Connolly warns on workforce changes

    The ranking member of the House Oversight Committee's Government Operations panel warns that Congress will look to legislate changes to the federal workforce.

  • President Donald J. Trump delivers his inaugural address

    How will Trump lead on tech?

    The businessman turned reality star turned U.S. president clearly has mastered Twitter, but what will his administration mean for broader technology issues?

  • Login.gov moving ahead

    The bid to establish a single login for accessing government services is moving again on the last full day of the Obama presidency.

  • Shutterstock image (by Jirsak): customer care, relationship management, and leadership concept.

    Obama wraps up security clearance reforms

    In a last-minute executive order, President Obama institutes structural reforms to the security clearance process designed to create a more unified system across government agencies.

  • Shutterstock image: breached lock.

    What cyber can learn from counterterrorism

    The U.S. has to look at its experience in developing post-9/11 counterterrorism policies to inform efforts to formalize cybersecurity policies, says a senior official.

Reader comments

Please post your comments here. Comments are moderated, so they may not appear immediately after submitting. We will not post comments that we consider abusive or off-topic.

Please type the letters/numbers you see above

More from 1105 Public Sector Media Group