The Modernizing Government Technology Reform Act of 2023 will continue through the House after receiving unanimous consent from its sponsoring committee during a markup on Wednesday.
The Committee on Oversight and Accountability met Wednesday morning to mark up the revision bill that would extend the Technology Modernization Fund through 2030. The new bill largely aims to rework the original Modernizing Government Technology Act from 2017 that launched the TMF but only authorized it to run through 2025.
The bill’s sponsors Reps. Nancy Mace, R-S.C., and Gerry Connolly, D-Va., introduced it Monday.
Not only would the MGT Reform Act extend the TMF, but it would also require agencies to adhere to the original intent of the bill and require any funds issued to be repaid or reimbursed to maintain solvency and ensure sustainability.
Under the revision, the TMF would also continue to act as a sustainable fund to help agencies with modernization efforts to protect against cyber threats and inefficient legacy technology, according to a committee aide, who said it would also make a permanent board member from the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency. Currently, the board has a member from CISA but only on a term basis.
During the markup, Mace criticized the Office of Management and Budget and the General Services Administration for not consistently requiring agencies to repay money awarded through the fund.
“God knows the federal government has a lot of work to do in that regard,” Mace said. “Reforming this program through this legislation is essential to ensuring the solvency of our agencies at all, and a technological edge on our adversaries.”
The committee aide stated that while the purpose of the new bill is consistent with the previous MGT Act, the new bill will ensure that those who administer the funds will have to adhere to the original bill’s objective.
“The problem is that…those who influence how the TMF program office operates have veered away from congressional intent and have not required the fund to remain solvent, and have given out awards without requiring even a small percentage of those awards to be reimbursed,” the committee aide said.
The TMF would continue funding the federal government’s most pressing modernization needs, like those that have aided in the digitization, service delivery and cyber-protection of agencies like the Department of Veteran Affairs, the Office of Personnel Management, and others.
Rep. Tim Burchett, R-Tenn., said in an interview that he will support the bill for its modernization efforts, but he thinks there needs to be safeguards in place so there are no “shenanigans.”
“The main thing is that it just makes sure the program stays funded through 2030 because if we have a lapse, that’s where we get into trouble,” Burchett said. “We have breakdowns and we can’t replace it…Those risks would be the complete collapse or hacking by foreign entities.”
Burchett stated that he hopes the bill’s continuation will be seamless.
The bill will now move on to the House floor for consideration.