The House Majority leader is looking to sell lawmakers in both parties on a major uptick in funding for the Technology Modernization Fund that focuses on IRS modernization.
Steny Hoyer holds a press conference at the National Press Club (Photo credit: Albert H. Teich/Shutterstock.com)
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) is hoping to compromise with the Trump administration about boosting the Technology Modernization Fund in the coming round of COVID-19 stimulus and relief spending. Hoyer is looking to combine a House-passed $1 billion infusion of money into the TMF -- a centrally administered revolving fund of no-year money that underwrites IT modernization projects -- with $2 billion in funding for IRS modernization included in a proposal backed by the Trump administration and Senate Republicans.
Under Hoyer's plan, outlined in a July 31 letter to Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, the IRS upgrades would be managed through the TMF, and eventually paid back to the fund under its reimbursement rules, so that the money would be available for subsequent IT modernization projects.
"I hope you will consider this suggestion, which would go a long way toward eliminating barriers to the effective implementation of our COVID-19 relief programs and help modernize government systems more broadly," Hoyer wrote.
Recently, Democrats in the House and Senate have urged appropriators and congressional leadership to consider new funding for TMF in COVID relief. Hoyer's letter represents a new attempt to combine a push to modernize tech at IRS with support for the central fund.
Currently, TMF is capitalized at about $150 million through its launch and several rounds of appropriations. The fund's board has made awards to 10 projects across seven agencies, most recently at Customs and Border Protection. The largest award is so far $20 million for the implementation of a payroll shared service at the General Services Administration. A $2 billion project for IRS would represent a massive shift in scope and scale for TMF, increasing its capitalization by a factor of more than 13.
On Friday, the House passed a minibus of six fiscal year appropriations bills, including the General Government and Financial Services funding bill, which this year included a $25 million increase to the TMF account. That measure passed on a 217-197 vote. It was the second such package of appropriations bills to pass the House.
The Trump administration sought $150 million for TMF, and said in a policy statement it was "disappointed" in the diminished allocation for the fund. The statement also threatened to veto the minibus -- mostly over defense issues, but also for reasons related to the proposed merger of the Office of Personnel Management into GSA.
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