TMF gets $25 million in final budget agreement
- By Chase Gunter
- Feb 14, 2019
The budget agreement to keep government open includes $25 million for the Technology Modernization Fund.
Securing funding for the TMF has been a bumpy road.
House Democrats initially zeroed out the fund at the start of the new Congress, matching the Senate funding bill from June 2018, before the $25 million figure appeared as part of the General Service Administration appropriation in a later bill. The number falls well short of the $100 million appropriated for the fund in fiscal year 2018 and of the $150 million the House approved just last year.
Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), a sponsor of the Modernizing Government Technology Act that authorized $250 million for the fund, said that "while this funding falls short of the authorization level for this fiscal year, I am pleased that our efforts with appropriators and relevant agencies to improve transparency around agencies' modernization proposals have resulted in bipartisan support for the Technology Modernization Fund."
"Congress and federal agencies must work hand-in-hand to provide the necessary resources to the TMF, which, used responsibly, is a vital tool for the federal government's task of keeping our nation's critical IT infrastructure efficient and secure, " he said.
Some of the issues raised by lawmakers about the fund concerned transparency and efficacy, but the Office of Management and Budget and the fund's supporters in Congress insisted that those had been resolved.
The funding bill also contains a limitation on how the State Department can use the fund, prohibiting the agency from using the fund unless it submits a copy of its proposal to the appropriations committees at least 15 days in advance of sending it to the board for consideration.
Lawmakers' agreeing to provide the $25 million for TMF comes days after nearly $21 million was awarded through the fund to centralize the federal government's payroll system in the wake of the longest shutdown in history.
Despite the decrease in funding, the TMF remains popular: agencies have submitted about 40 projects vying for modernization dollars.
TMF relies on agencies to pay it back to replenish the central fund. The first repayment from awarded agencies is to take place no more than 12 months after the first funding installment is issued or six months after completion of the project, whichever comes sooner.
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