Tech groups seek IT modernization funding in future rescue bills

Five leading technology trade groups called on lawmakers to support "meaningful" federal, state and local IT modernization in COVID stimulus legislation.

tech budget (Sergey Nivens/Shutterstock.com)
 

Five technology trade groups urged congressional leaders to include adequate funds for IT modernization in any additional economic stimulus packages being considered in the COVID-19 response, saying outdated IT at the federal, state and local levels is slowing that response down.

"Outdated government IT systems and processes already hinder some federal and state agencies' ability to deliver aid to new applicants for small business loans and unemployment insurance," said the April 15 letter from the Information Technology Industry Council (ITI), Alliance for Digital Innovation (ADI), the Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA), the Center for Procurement Advocacy, Internet Association (IA), and the Cybersecurity Coalition.

Future stimulus legislation, they said, should include funding for IT modernization efforts spread across multiple years.

The letter didn't specify any funding amount, however.

A stimulus and relief bill offered in the House of Representatives last month included a $3 billion boost to the governmentwide Technology Modernization Fund, but that bill never made it to vote.

The trade groups recommended that future stimulus legislation support the federal Technology Modernization Fund with resources "that would allow meaningful investment in cross agency IT modernization initiatives."

The groups are also seeking language that emphasizes strengthening cybersecurity, workforce training and process transformation and provisions that set a mechanism to provide federal financial support for IT modernization by state and local governments.

Specific areas of concern include support for telework and telemedicine, "dramatic" upgrades for citizen-facing services, such as loan programs, state unemployment application sites and call centers, as well as insure federal state and local governments can scale those systems to meet crises.

"The COVID-19 pandemic has created a significant strain on many of the federal, state, and local government resources across the United States that people depend on every day," said Gordon Bitko, senior vice president of policy, public sector at ITI in an email statement to FCW.

Days before the group sent their letter, a group of congressional Democrats sought to carve out $400 million for state and local governments to nail down cybersecurity issues such as increasing ransomware, phishing and other cyberattacks during the pandemic.

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