The Biden administration’s Fiscal Year 2022 discretionary funding request submitted to Congress on April 9 features $1.25 billion of new requests that would be aimed at undertaking further Federal IT modernization efforts.

The administration’s funding request document is a precursor to its official FY2022 budget proposal, which will come later this year. The Office of Management and Budget (OMB), which set the discretionary funding request to Congress, said the document lays out “the President’s discretionary funding recommendations across a wide range of policy areas and outlines a strategy for reinvesting in the foundations of our country’s resilience and strength.”

OMB added that the request “represents only one element of the Administration’s broader agenda.”

In all, the funding request envisions a 16 percent increase in non-defense discretionary funding over FY2021 enacted levels, to $769 billion, and a 1.7 percent increase for national defense programs, to $753 billion.

More IT Modernization Funding

The $1.25 billion of additional funding that OMB proposed includes another $500 million for the Technology Modernization Fund (TMF). TMF, which is administered by the General Services Administration (GSA) with leadership from the Federal CIO Council, has seen relatively modest demand in the three years since its creation due in part to repayment obligations on agencies that receive funding awards.

The new $500 million of requested TMF funding would come on top of the $1 billion provided for TMF in the American Rescue Plan Act signed into law by President Biden last month.

The administration’s discretionary funding request also features an ask for $750 million that would act as a “reserve for Federal agency information technology enhancements.” The request does not elaborate on how that money might be deployed.

Acting GSA Administrator Katy Kale issued a statement today on the administration’s funding request, saying that the GSA portions of the request align with “strengthening the cybersecurity posture of the Federal government,” among other aims.

“COVID-19 and the significant cyber incident impacting agencies through products such as SolarWinds continue to highlight the urgent need to modernize Federal technology, with particular emphasis on mission-essential systems and citizen-facing digital services,” GSA said.

“The budget includes $500 million for the Technology Modernization Fund (TMF) to strengthen the Federal cybersecurity posture and retire antiquated legacy technology systems,” the agency said. “The discretionary request for the TMF builds on the $1 billion provided by the American Rescue Plan to launch major new IT and cybersecurity shared services and complete modernization projects at Federal agencies.”

Next Steps

OMB Acting Director Shalanda Young said the administration plans to release its official FY2022 budget “later this spring.”

She said that document will “present a unified, comprehensive plan to address the overlapping challenges we face in a fiscally and economically responsible way.”

“This moment of crisis is also a moment of possibility,” Young said. “The upcoming appropriations process is another important opportunity to continue laying a stronger foundation for the future and reversing a legacy of chronic disinvestment in crucial priorities. Together, America has a chance not simply to go back to the way things were before the COVID-19 pandemic and economic downturn struck, but to begin building a better, stronger, more secure, more inclusive America.”

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John Curran
John Curran
John Curran is MeriTalk's Managing Editor covering the intersection of government and technology.