House appropriators approve $150 million for TMF in FY2019

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The House Appropriations Committee approved a bill that would provide $150 million for the centralized fund created by the Modernizing Government Technology Act.

The committee approved the Financial Services and General Government Appropriations bill by a 28 to 20 vote June 13.

The MGT Act authorized $250 million per year in spending on a central revolving fund for fiscal years 2018 and 2019 to be administered by the Office of Management and Budget and the General Services Administration. Agencies that tap into the central fund are required to pay it back, with the idea that the core fund could sustain modernization activity for four years.

The $150 million in the appropriations bill allocates $50 million more than was funded in the 2018 appropriations by the omnibus. The Trump administration requested $210 million for fiscal year 2019.

"The Committee encourages GSA and the TMF Board established by the Modernizing Government Technology Act to prioritize and fund those projects that have the most significant impact on mission enhancement and that most effectively modernize citizen-facing services, including updating public facing websites, modernizing forms and digitizing government processes," states the bill report.

Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.), who along with Rep. Will Hurd (R-Texas) sponsored the MGT Act, told FCW, “While I had hoped that the Appropriations Committee would provide the Technology Modernization Fund with funds closer to the full amount authorized under the MGT Act, $150 million, on top of last fiscal year’s $100 million, is a good down payment to kick start agencies’ IT modernization efforts.”

Mike Hettinger, a former Hill staffer and currently a lobbyist specializing in procurement and IT issues, told FCW he was pleased with the addition of $50 million to the TMF but noted, "I continue to believe that for IT modernization to reach its full potential, more funding is needed to address this critical issue -- more than $150 million and more than the $250 million which is authorized in the MGT Act."

OMB announced June 7 that three agencies -- the Departments of Energy, Housing and Urban Development and Agriculture -- would receive a total of $45 million as part of the first round of TMF awards for fiscal year 2018.

About the Author

Chase Gunter is a staff writer covering civilian agencies, workforce issues, health IT, open data and innovation.

Prior to joining FCW, Gunter reported for the C-Ville Weekly in Charlottesville, Va., and served as a college sports beat writer for the South Boston (Va.) News and Record. He started at FCW as an editorial fellow before joining the team full-time as a reporter.

Gunter is a graduate of the University of Virginia, where his emphases were English, history and media studies.

Click here for previous articles by Gunter, or connect with him on Twitter: @WChaseGunter


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