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*** Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) introduced and withdrew an amendment proposing a $9 billion appropriation for the Technology Modernization Fund in the House Oversight Committee's markup of its portion of the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief and recovering legislation last Friday.

The administration's original proposal had included $9 billion for TMF, but that additional funding was cut from the package because of the objections from some in the Senate. It would have been a major lift for the revolving fund supporting IT modernization, which has been receiving annual amounts of around $25 million. Connolly's amendment would have exempted $8 billion of the new funding from TMF's payback requirements.

"What we have to understand -- and what our colleagues in the Senate need to learn -- is that IT is not tangential to the mission. It is integral to the mission," Connolly said. "If the IT doesn't work, the mission is compromised."

*** The roster of the Senate Appropriations Committee has shifted for the 117th Congress. Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) is now chairman of the Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government, which has jurisdiction over a great deal of governmentwide workforce, acquisition and technology spending. Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith is the new ranking member. In the last session of Congress, before party control of the chamber flipped, Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) was ranking member of this panel and Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) was chairman.

*** Direct hiring by federal agencies spiked in fiscal year 2018, according to published research from the Merit Systems Protection Board. According to the study, IT managers and contracting professionals ranked high among occupations agencies onboarded using direct hiring authorities.

Posted on Feb 16, 2021 at 2:13 AM


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