Support Urged for Boosting Technology Modernization Fund

Several leading House Democrats have urged that planned pandemic relief legislation contain the $9 billion supplement for the interagency Technology Modernization Fund requested by the White House.

“The federal government’s consistent failure to prioritize IT modernization and program delivery prevented the public from receiving the federal assistance Congress authorized to help the nation stay afloat during one of the worst global pandemics and economic crises of our lifetime,” said the letter from Reps. Carolyn Maloney of New York and Gerald Connolly of Virginia, the chair of the House Oversight and Reform Committee and its government operations subcommittee.

“Without modern and nimble IT systems, the federal government cannot deliver critical payments and services to individuals, families, and businesses who rely on them. We cannot allow a failure to invest in technology prevent us, once again, from effectively implementing,” said the letter, which was joined by a half-dozen other House Democrats.

The fund was established under a 2017 law designed to help agencies in their IT modernization efforts, for example by making available enough money at one time to replace outdated systems rather than amounts sufficient only to keep them operating. However, they said that in that time, Congress has approved just $150 million for the fund, which they called “far short of what is needed to meet the needs of federal agencies.”

“A larger capital investment into the fund would give the federal government a chance to address the most challenging enterprise-wide problems, such as retiring legacy IT systems, securing federal systems and information, and delivering seamless services and programs that the public deserves,” they said.