MGT Act headed for House vote with slimmed-down CBO score

The revised IT modernization bill will cost $500 million to implement, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

Will Hurd
 

The Congressional Budget Office lowered the price tag on Rep. Will Hurd's MGT Act, from $3 billion to $500 million.

The Modernizing Government Technology Act appears poised to pass in the House of Representatives this week after receiving a favorable score from the Congressional Budget Office.

The bill, which establishes a governmentwide IT modernization fund and authorizes revolving funds for IT upgrades at 24 federal agencies, will cost $500 million to implement, according to the CBO score released on May 12.

The bill is due for a vote on the House floor under suspension of the rules on the morning of May 17. Under suspension, a two-thirds majority is required to pass the bill.

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) touted the bill at a May 12 event in San Francisco hosted by Politico.

"All of us as taxpayers spend $80 billion a year on technology in government. Eighty percent of that goes to legacy programs," McCarthy said. "We could save a great amount of money, we could be much more effective, and more importantly, we could be much more accountable."

A more ambitious version of the MGT Act passed the House in the last session of Congress, but prospects for passage in the Senate sank after the bill was saddled with a $9 billion CBO score.

Rich Beutel, who helped draft the Federal IT Acquisition Reform Act as a legislative staffer, said that the new CBO score improved the chances of the current bill passing -- not just because of the lower dollar amount, but because the bill is not subject to spending offset requirements.

Reps. Will Hurd (R-Texas) and Gerry Connolly (D-Va.), the key sponsors of the bill, "worked hard with CBO to bring down the score," said Beutel.

"But even more impressive is that CBO agreed to exempt MGT form the so called pay-go requirements that would have otherwise required the legislation to find an equivalent offset from existing expenditures," Beutel said. "This makes passage of the legislation through the House on Wednesday much easier."

The previous legislation called for a $3 billion revolving fund to span several years, with agencies paying back savings to be reused by other agencies. Sponsors hoped that a $3 billion upfront investment could generate $12 billion in modernization activity. The CBO's take was that the reuse of repaid funds constituted more spending, not savings, hence the $9 billion score in 2016.

"We are pleased to have resolved the misunderstanding in costs of the MGT Act with the [CBO]," Connolly told FCW in an email. "Building off of FITARA, this bill actually saves the government money by modernizing IT systems. The new CBO score more accurately represents the effects the legislation will have on agency IT budgets. I look forward to passage of this bill later this week."

Mike Hettinger, formerly the staff director of the House Oversight committee, said the key to lowering the score was "putting the actual amount you want in the bill." He said that change "gives CBO something concrete to look at."

The reduction of the central fund from $3 billion to $500 million means that much of the activity under the bill will have to take place at agencies. The bill is structured to offer incentives to agency leaders to take on modernization projects covered by the bill, giving them the ability to bank savings achieved by tech refreshes for up to three years, rather than return the money to the Treasury.

Still, agencies and appropriators alike will have to prioritize IT modernization in a constrained budget environment.

"Some will take advantage of it, others won't," Hurd told FCW when he reintroduced the bill in April.

The bill has backing in the Senate from a bipartisan team of appropriators, Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) and Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.), but it's not clear yet if the measure will get a hearing in the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee, or if it has a path to a vote of the full Senate.

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.