A top house democrat is proposing legislation that would create President Barack Obama’s $3.1 billion IT modernization fund aimed at moving agencies away from outdated legacy technology.
Minority House Whip Rep. Steny Hoyer, D.-Md., will introduce a White House proposal sent to Congress, which authorizes a one-time investment of $3.1 billion into a revolving fund to be used replace legacy systems that are costly to maintain and increasingly becoming a cybersecurity liability.
“The legislation I will be introducing when the House returns to session next week is a major step toward transforming the way our government invests in upgrading its infrastructure to serve the American people more effectively and to keep their private information safe,” said Hoyer.
U.S. Chief Information Officer Tony Scott issued a blog post Friday outlining how the fund would drive civilian agencies to use modern enterprise technology, migrate away from older, less secure systems and coalesce around a small number of common platforms that can be used across the entire federal government.
The White House believes the one time, $3.1 billion, outlay could address at least $12 billion in modernization projects over 10 years, because savings from each project would be churned back into the fund to pay for later initiatives.
“Ultimately, retiring or modernizing vulnerable and inefficient legacy IT systems will not only make us more secure, it will also save money,” Scott wrote. “As a means of addressing these pressing challenges, the ITMF is an important first step in changing the way the Federal Government manages its IT portfolio.”
The fund was originally part of the president’s Cybersecurity National Action Plan, which was tied to the proposed 2017 budget.
Last month, the House Budget Committee rejected an amendment from Rep. Ted Lieu that would have created the modernization fund.
Lieu told FedScoop Friday the proposed legislation would go a long way in making sure that the government’s IT systems are both “modern and secure throughout the government.”
“The self-sustaining investment fund is an innovative way to rapidly upgrade our outdated and vulnerable IT systems while supporting our federal technology infrastructure for the future,” Lieu said in an email to FedScoop. “If we do not invest in our technology and cybersecurity now, we will have no one to blame for the next data breach but ourselves.”
Hoyer, who expects the bill to have bipartisan support, said the fund’s model has a proven track record of reducing long term costs in the private sector.
“Over the past several years, I’ve made it a priority to make sure that Congress and the Administration have access to the latest, most innovative technology in order to make our government more transparent, more efficient in providing essential services, and more responsive to the people we serve,” Hoyer continued.
“This bill will rapidly upgrade our federal IT systems that are most in need of upgrading, either from being cybersecurity risks, inefficient, or costly to maintain.”
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