Connolly floats legislative fix for IT working capital funds

Rep. Gerry Connolly. (House Oversight Flickr)

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Congress probably needs to revisit the Modernizing Government Technology Act because some agencies still haven’t created IT working capital funds, based on legal advice from their general counsels, said Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., Monday.

The Subcommittee on Government Operations he chairs may open up a policy dialogue with those agencies and their counsels, but more likely a legislative fix is needed, Connolly said.

Only three out of 24 agencies graded received “As” in implementing the MGT Act on the last FITARA scorecard in December, in part, because their lawyers continue to tell leaders they lack transfer authority to put appropriated money in IT working capital funds.

“[I]n some cases they’ve formed the funds,” Connolly said, during a MITRE event. “In some other cases they have not because they’ve been advised legally they don’t have the authority, even though the law we passed says you do.”

A jurisdictional “turf battle” between the House Oversight and Appropriations committees could ensue over the working capital funds — designed to bank unused IT dollars until agencies are ready to invest them in long-term modernization projects — unless they work together, Connolly said.

Agencies must also be required to produce plans for the use of their IT working capital funds, he said.

“From my point of view, it’s just critical every agency has a working capital fund so that they can stay abreast of changes in technology, implement the latest encryption programs and measures to protect the assets in the databases and proprietary information, and retire those legacy systems,” Connolly said.

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FITARA Scorecard, Gerry Connolly, MITRE, Modernizing Government Technology Act, working capital funds
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