Lawmakers introduce alternative to White House’s modernization fund

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A group of computer-savvy lawmakers Thursday introduced an alternative to the IT modernization bill that has been languishing on Capitol Hill since April, offering a different path for how agencies could upgrade their legacy systems.

Rep. Will Hurd, R-Texas, introduced the “Modernizing Outdated and Vulnerable Equipment and Information Technology Act of 2016,” or MOVE IT Act, which would give agencies the ability to create a working capital fund that could be used to modernize the swath of outdated technology currently in use.

““Last year, the federal government spent $80 billion on IT,” Hurd said in a release. “What’s outrageous is that 80 percent of that is spent simply to maintain and operate outdated, legacy systems, some of which are not even supported any more by their manufacturers,” said Rep. Hurd. “Using these old systems makes data housed by federal agencies more vulnerable to digital attacks, and it’s a gigantic waste of tax-payers’ money! There is a better way to do this. This legislation is an outside the box, innovative solution and is another step forward in modernizing our digital infrastructure.”

The bill is a spin-off of the IT Modernization Act, which looked to set up a revolving $3.1 billion fund across the federal government that would be continually replenished by agencies as they realized savings from modernization. With the Move IT Act, agencies would be required to use their own funds but could keep the money saved from upgrades.

The bill would also call on the White House’s Office of Management and Budget and the National Institute of Standards and Technology to form performance metrics for the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program, including the creation of a report to Congress of the program’s efficacy.

The bill, which was co-sponsored by Reps. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., and Ted Lieu, D-Calif., comes as the House leaves of D.C. for its summer recess. A Senate companion, introduced by Sens. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., and Tom Udall, D-N.M., will also languish as the Senate does not plan to return to Washington until September.

While the MOVE IT Act awaits the return of the House, sources have told FedScoop the introduction of this bill means the IT Modernization Fund, which was introduced by House Whip Rep. Steny Hoyer, D-Md., is all but dead.

The House version is also sponsored by Reps. Robin Kelly, D-Ill., Barbara Comstock, R-Va., Jaime Herrera-Beutler R-Wash., Derek Kilmer D-Wash., Kevin Yoder, R-Kan., and John Culberson, R-Texas. The Senate version is also sponsored by Sens. Steve Daines R-Mont., and Mark Warner, D-Va.

You can read the full bill here

Contact the reporter on this story via email at greg.otto@fedscoop.com, or follow him on Twitter at @gregotto. His OTR and PGP info can be found hereSubscribe to the Daily Scoop for stories like this in your inbox every morning by signing up here: fdscp.com/sign-me-on.

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