The revised Modernizing Government Technology Act will move to the House floor after proceeding through committee markup Tuesday without objection.
Less than a week since MGT was reintroduced in the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, the legislation by Rep. Will Hurd, R-Texas, is headed once again for consideration before the entire chamber. It passed the House last year but died in the Senate after receiving an unfavorable Congressional Budget Office score.
The bill proposes again to allow agencies to put money saved through IT efficiencies into working capital funds, which can be accessed for up to three years, to fund efforts to modernize their technology. It also would create a centralized fund agencies can tap into for modernization.
One of the changes lawmakers made to address the CBO score was to cap the amount that can go in the centralized fund for years one and two at $250 million per year. Another change found is language designating the commissioner of the General Services Administration’s Technology Transformation Service — currently former Pixar executive Rob Cook — as the administrator of the centralized fund.
As Hurd explained Tuesday during the markup, “Unfortunately we ran out of time last Congress with this bill in the Senate. But we have an opportunity to act this year with an improved bill.”
Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., lead Democratic supporter of the bill, spoke of the importance of this bill in incentivizing federal CIOs to simultaneously drive savings and modernization.
“During the implementation of [the Federal IT Acquisition Reform Act], the Oversight Committee noticed that this problem was created, in part, by the fact that agencies have very little incentive to retire legacy systems quickly,” Connolly said. “They might want to do it, but when they look at their budget priorities, this isn’t one of them. In order to fully realize potential savings and move agencies to modernize, we need to add a little sugar to the tea.”
Americans deserve better from their government, Hurd said, “especially on an issue that is completely solvable.”