Senate Stimulus Bill Includes Resources for Federal Telework and Contracting Community

Irina VIV/Shutterstock.com

Portions of the Senate’s stimulus bill address immediate technological challenges for government.

The Senate’s $2 trillion stimulus package—which the House is expected to take up Friday morning—will improve the federal government’s immediate technological response to the COVID-19 outbreak and infuse resources for the federal workforce and contractors.

Emergency supplemental funds publicly released Wednesday by the Senate Appropriations Committee—ahead of the full bill, which was made available Thursday—provides agencies the option to modify terms and conditions of existing contracts and reimburse contractors for paid and sick leave during the crisis.

The supplemental mirrors recent guidance from the Office of Management and Budget and the Office of Personnel Management, which directed agencies to “be flexible” and increase telework or remote work options for contractors.

“The nearly $2-trillion package to combat the economic fallout of the COVID-19 virus outbreak will give government agencies flexibility to offer contractors reimbursement for paid and sick leave caused by an inability to access their worksite or telework due to their job duties,” the National Defense Industrial Association said in a statement. NDIA is a nonprofit comprised of more than 1,700 corporate members. “This legislation is a positive step in the process of ensuring the defense industrial base can weather the pandemic’s disruptions.”

The National Treasury Employees Union, which represents 150,000 employees in 33 agencies, also supported aspects of the stimulus bill. In a statement, NTEU President Tony Reardon said the bill addresses concerns the union previously raised over shortages of supplies, including hand sanitizers and disinfectant wipes, and general cleanliness of federal buildings.

“Congress clearly recognizes that hundreds of thousands of federal workers are essential to our nation’s response to the global pandemic, because this bill provides agencies critical funding to improve the safety of federal buildings where employees are still working,” Reardon said in a statement. “And for those employees who are able to work from home, this bill targets much-needed funding for technology to improve their remote access.”

The supplemental includes $275 million for coronavirus prevention in buildings managed by the General Services Administration, for deep cleaning, enhanced screening at entrances and space management issues. In addition, the bill includes $178 million for the Department of Homeland Security to purchase personal protective equipment for frontline employees, including Customs personnel at ports of entry. The bill further provides the IRS $250 million to cover costs of extending the tax filing season.

Mike Hettinger, founder of the Hettinger Strategy Group and former House Oversight staff director, said the supplemental attempts to address the very real challenges of shifting millions of federal employees and contractors to remote work. OPM will receive $12 million to expand telework, digitizing the paper-based retirement application and case management processes. Meanwhile, the Defense Department—with a workforce preparing to telework for weeks or months, if necessary—would get $300 million to purchase technology to increase its bandwidth, Hettinger said.

“One of the things we have learned in the last few weeks is that more needs to be done to ensure we are ready now and in the future, as networks and remote connections have reportedly been severely stressed. That said, it is encouraging to see the supplemental appropriations bill recognize the need to modernize our technology platforms to facilitate remote access and employee telework,” Hettinger said. “The legislation will fund IT modernization initiatives aimed at improving remote access, security and connectivity in support of telework across nearly all federal agencies.  This is a huge step in the right direction.”

Hettinger added that he was “disappointed, although not surprised,” that $3 billion proposed in the House stimulus bill for the Technology Modernization Fund was not included in Senate’s supplemental.

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.