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House Members Highlight Lack of Funding for IT Modernization Fund

The technology modernization fund (TMF) is grossly underfunded and a contributing factor to government’s ill-equipped information technology systems, said House Government Operations Subcommittee Chairman Gerry Connolly, D-Va., and witnesses at a hearing Monday. Response to COVID-19 exposed federal and state…

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government weaknesses, especially with legacy IT systems that are sometimes 30-40 years old, Connolly said, hosting a hybrid virtual and in-person hearing. IT systems have been inadequate in processing the Small Business Administration’s small business loans and grants and the Internal Revenue Service’s payment of stimulus checks, he added. The TMF “remains chronically underfunded,” Connolly said. Ranking member Jody Hice, R-Ga., urged focus on improving the TMF to help the government replace legacy systems, saying the U.S. needs to get more agile and up to date. Draft legislation for the TMF sought $3 billion annually, but it was never funded at more than $25 million, and most years there’s been zero funding, testified MeriTalk founder Steve O’Keeffe. The Alliance for Digital Innovation supports a significant increase to the TMF, said Executive Director Matthew Cornelius. Every federal agency should have a top technology official who can inject that experience into policies, testified New America Director of Strategy-Public Interest Technology Hana Schank. Congress should adopt policies that enable easier use of commercial products and services, that provide security, agility and scalability that supports the demand for digital services and data, said Information Technology Industry Council Senior Vice President-Policy Gordon Bitko.