A recently crafted bill to modernize information technology for federal agencies sailed through the House on Sept. 22 in a unanimous vote.
The Modernizing Government Technology Act—which combines elements of Rep. Will Hurd's, R-Texas, MOVE IT Act with Rep. Steny Hoyer's, D-Md., Information Technology Modernization Act—is designed to help agencies fund the replacement of their legacy IT systems.
"The Modernizing Government Technology Act is another piece in the puzzle we are putting together to move federal IT systems into the 21st century," said Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., in a statement. Connolly co-sponsored the new MGT Act last week.
"It will build on the success of FITARA by investing savings in retiring dated, legacy systems and accelerating our transition to the cloud. I am glad to partner with Rep. Hurd on this effort and look forward to this bill hitting the President’s desk post haste."
The bill was created a week ago as a bipartisan compromise of Hurd’s and Hoyer’s bills. The new bill provides individual working capital funds for each agency to modernize their IT systems called for in Hurd’s MOVE IT Act, but also sets up a central Information Technology and Modernization Fund and Board to "improve Government-wide efficiency and cybersecurity in accordance with the 15 requirements of the agencies."
Agencies would "reprogram" their own IT funding to apply to their IT modernization efforts, effectively spending their own money on upgrade projects through individual accounts.
The central fund — along with an Information Technology Modernization Board to advise it —would establish a revolving pool managed by the General Services Administration and the Office of Management and Budget that agencies would apply to receive monies for certain IT projects.
Congress has been trying to find a way to fund the government’s IT modernization efforts ever since President Obama’s February budget request called for a $3.1-billion fund to update the information systems.
The bill will next head to the Senate.