$3B IT modernization fund left out of House Budget Resolution

An Obama administration plan to launch a revolving fund for IT modernization didn't make the cut in the final version of the House Budget Committee's spending resolution.

Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.)

Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) pushed an amendment to include the administration's IT modernization plan in the House budget resolution.

An amendment to provide $3 billion for a revolving IT modernization fund was rejected by the House Budget Committee in a hearing to pass the fiscal year 2017 budget resolution on March 16.

"I am greatly disappointed that House Republicans continue to put politics ahead of national security.  Implementing the President’s Cybersecurity National Action Plan by investing $3 billion to fund upgrade legacy systems, which are both hard to secure and expensive to maintain should be an approach both sides of the aisle can agree on," Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif), the sponsor of the amendment said in a statement.

President Obama proposed the $3.1 billion fund in his fiscal year 2017 budget request. For the fund to launch, the administration needs a $3 billion appropriation from Congress. The idea is for the fund to serve as a mechanism for agencies to upgrade legacy IT to more modern, cloud-based systems. Savings enjoyed on the back end by agencies would be repaid to the fund. It is envisioned that he fund could address $12 billion in modernization projects over 10 years.  

Lieu and co-sponsors including Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), the ranking member on the budget panel, sought to pay for the new IT expenditures by reducing tax breaks on corporate jet depreciation, tax inversions, and other frequent targets of Democratic lawmakers.

The fiscal 2017 $1.07 trillion budget resolution was approved in a 20-16 vote on Wednesday evening and the amendment was rejected on a 22-14 vote.

A spokesman told FCW that Lieu will "continue to push for this much-needed funding through the appropriations process."

Appropriators on both sides of the aisle were skeptical of the fund both in terms of the overall expense and its structure at a Feb. 29 hearing with General Services Administration head Denise Turner Roth. GSA would administer the fund under the administration plan. 

IT watchdog Rep. Will Hurd (R-Texas), chairman of the IT Subcommittee of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, also has doubts.

"The agencies need to incorporate modernization in their individual budgets," Hurd told reporters in February.

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