Small tweaks to IT policies, funding in $1.5 trillion funding bill

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There's no TMF boost in the omnibus funding bill passed by Congress, but there are multiple small moves supporting IT modernization at federal agencies.

The $1.5 trillion fiscal year 2022 appropriations bill passed by Congress last week doesn't include much in the way of big-ticket IT modernization, but there are new policies and programs designed to put money where the problems are.

The Technology Modernization Fund did not get a new boost, but the board that administers the fund is still parceling out awards from the $1 billion provided under the American Rescue Plan Act.

Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.), a co-sponsor of the 2017 legislation that created the TMF, noted in an emailed statement that the American Rescue Plan funding amounts to "40 years' worth of annual appropriations in one bill." 

"While I wish more robust funding for IT was in this package, we will continue to advocate for additional IT funding in future packages and help educate Congress about the power of IT investment," Connolly said.

The funding bill puts into place new agency-level revolving funds of the type first authorized by the Modernizing Government Technology Act. The Office of Personnel Management, the Departments of Labor, Homeland Security, Treasury, Commerce and Housing and Urban Development are getting multiyear funding for IT modernization and cybersecurity efforts. 

The bill also makes some key changes to the operation of the Federal Citizen Services Fund, which received a $150 million multiyear plus-up in the American Rescue Plan Act. Notably, the bill lets the General Services Administration, where the FCSF is housed, enter into cost-reimbursement agreements to provide agencies with services out of the fund. 

"GSA will be able to use the broader reimbursable authority to provide the ability to adequately scale, maintain, and evolve the platforms and programs within the fund in order to better serve agencies and deliver value for the American people," GSA stated in its fiscal year 2022 budget request

The funding bill adds $55 million to the fund, but stipulates that fiscal year 2022 spending be capped at $150 million. Congress is also mandating a spending plan for the fund from GSA to be delivered 60 days after the bill takes effect.

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