'They Get It,' Lawmaker Says of Trump's Innovation Office

White House Senior Adviser Jared Kushner, left.

White House Senior Adviser Jared Kushner, left. Alex Brandon/AP

Trump's teams have been concerned with federal IT since the transition, Rep. Will Hurd said.

President Donald Trump's new White House office dedicated to improving government services has supported lawmakers' efforts to pass IT modernization legislation, one member of Congress said.

Trump's presidential memorandum established the Office of American Innovation in March. The nascent team, whose mission is to broadly improve government services, is helmed by his son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, and consults with prominent business executives.

To some critics, the Office of American Innovation attempts to solve the same problems the federal government has been grappling with for decades—such as outdated technology—by applying business practices instead of understanding the underlying structural challenges of the Washington bureaucracy. Many members, including Kushner and Reed Cordish, a Baltimore real-estate developer and Trump's assistant to the president for intergovernmental and technology initiatives, have no prior government experience.

» Get the best federal technology news and ideas delivered right to your inbox. Sign up here.

But "they get it," Rep. Will Hurd, R-Texas, whose IT modernization legislation is up for a House vote in the coming weeks, told reporters during a press gaggle Tuesday. He met with some of the members including Cordish and technology aide Matt Lira, and they have been "helpful in articulating how they want to use this new tool," Hurd said.

Hurd's Modernizing Government Technology Act, which Tuesday made it through a House oversight committee markup with no amendments and unanimous support, would create working capital funds at individual agencies that could be used for modernization efforts. It would also create a governmentwide fund agencies could apply to for additional money.

Meetings with the office helped Hurd's staff tweak the language of the bill—and Trump's team has been concerned about federal technology since the presidential transition, Hurd explained.

"The transition folks were asking the right questions, like, 'Why does this agency have 14 people with the title [chief information officer]? Why does the CIO not have the complete budget authority? Why are there still 12 agencies where the CIO doesn't report directly to the agency head?'"

Still, Trump hasn't filled several key technology positions, including a federal chief technology officer or CIO, who might provide support for such legislation. During the Obama administration, U.S. CIO Tony Scott championed a $3.1 billion revolving fund agencies could use for modernization projects.

"It's a problem in that you want to have the full team up and running," Hurd said, though he noted the bill has met widespread bipartisan support. Even if those positions aren't filled immediately, "you're not going to have capital in the [working capital] fund right away. It's going to take ultimately a year ... and so you're going to have the right tech leaders come in and take advantage of it," he said.

"You're bringing in people that are new and the first thing you talk to them about is, 'Hey, the MGT Act ... should be something you focus on," Hurd added. They're all going to start their jobs knowing it." 

The Office of American Innovation team is directed to "improve government operations and services, improve the quality of life for Americans now and in the future and spur job creation,” by incorporating business practices into government, according to a presidential memorandum.

Earlier this week, Trump also established the American Technology Council, a group dedicated to modernizing the government's IT, as well as the way it "uses and delivers digital services." That team is chaired by Trump himself and directed by Chris Liddell, his strategic adviser and former chief financial officer at Microsoft, who also serves in the Office of American Innovation; ATC members include Vice President Mike Pence, Defense Secretary James Mattis and Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly.

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.