Connolly, Issa launch IT modernization caucus
The lawmakers behind the FITARA legislation are establishing a new caucus centered around IT modernization issues.
Reps. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) and Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) are launching a new, bipartisan IT modernization caucus on Thursday, meant to "bring awareness to governments' need to embrace technology and analytics to better deliver services to the American public."
The two have a history of collaborating across party lines on technology and management issues, despite coming from opposite ends of the political spectrum. They were cosponsors of the original legislation establishing the Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act, when Issa chaired the House Oversight Committee and Connolly served as ranking member of a key subcommittee. In the release about the new caucus, the two highlighted FITARA's impact, which they say has saved over $20 billion.
In 2014, the two teamed up on a cloud computing caucus that attracted members from both sides of the aisle.
Issa retired from Congress in 2018 but won election in an adjacent southern California district in 2020.
The new caucus will be an informal group of representatives working on IT modernization, as well as "educating other Members on subjects of interest regarding federal IT." They say it'll bring together federal policymakers and private sector actors together.
"It has become abundantly clear that to generate the necessary resilience against future crises effectively, governments at all levels must fully embrace cutting-edge technology and data analytics," Connolly said in a statement, pointing to issues with the processing of loans at the Small Business Administration during the pandemic and with the delivery of unemployment compensation from outdated IT systems as examples.
Issa pointed to America's place on the global stage, saying that "our nation should not be satisfied only with a leading position in global IT modernization. America must instead commit to the pinnacle of invention, innovation, and discovery. This is the best way to meet and exceed competition from China and safeguard our technological independence. This bipartisan caucus has a key role to play."