New legislation blends MOVE IT Act, IT Modernization Fund

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The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee plans to mark up an IT modernization bill Thursday, combining elements from two similar bills introduced earlier this year — the IT Modernization Act and the MOVE IT Act.

The Modernizing Government Technology Act of 2016 would create individual IT working capital funds for each of the 24 CFO Act agencies and a centralized IT modernization fund housed in the Treasury Department that executive branch agencies could apply to draw from.

The central IT modernization fund could be used “for technology related activities, to improve information technology, to enhance cybersecurity across the Federal Government,” according to the bill.

Government spends nearly three-fourths of its IT budget on operating and maintaining legacy systems, according to the bill. Those systems often pose security risks as they approach end of life.

[Read more: Agencies face cyber concerns as apps rely on aging systems — report]

The Office of Management and Budget would oversee the centralized fund, and agencies could apply and present business cases for money to modernize. They would have to reimburse the fund within an agreed upon period or face penalty.

The administrator of the General Services Administration would manage the funds, in consultation with an Information Technology Modernization Board that would be established by the bill. Agencies would be required to use incremental development practices to qualify for funding, which they would receive on an incremental basis when they show metric-based milestones as progress.

The administrator could also use the funds to develop, operate and procure IT products and services for agency use — for a fee of course.

It is unclear how much money the centralized fund would start with, but the IT Modernization Act, one of the two modernization bills introduced earlier this year, called for a revolving $3.1 billion modernization fund.

The other modernization-related bill, introduced by Rep. Will Hurd, R-Texas, would have allowed agencies to create their own working capital funds to modernize outdated technology. Hurd is a co-sponsor on the new hybrid bill with Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., who notably helped pen the Federal IT Acquisition Reform Act passed in 2014.

[Read more: Lawmakers introduce alternative to White House’s modernization fund]

Under the proposed Modernizing Government Technology Act, CFO Act agencies would be allowed to use their IT working capital funds to “improve, retire, or replace existing information technology systems to improve efficiency and effectiveness;” move to the cloud or shared services systems; “assist and support covered agency efforts to provide adequate, risk-based, and cost-effective information technology capabilities that address evolving threats to information security;” and reimburse for funds taken from the central IT modernization fund, the bill says.

Rep. Steny Hoyer’s, D-Md., has said Hurd’s initial bill didn’t go far enough.

“The MOVE IT Act is unfunded and would only be a meager step toward modernizing our government technology, which is far short of what is urgently needed,” Hoyer said at the time in a statement emailed to FedScoop.

[Read more: Hoyer: MOVE IT Act ‘falls short’ of what’s needed for federal IT]

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Congress, Government IT News, legacy IT, Modernization
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