President Donald Trump’s proposed 2018 budget, released on May 23, provides for $228 million of IT modernization funding through the General Services Administration (GSA), as laid out in the Modernizing Government Technology (MGT) Act that passed the House last week.
“The Technology Modernization Fund (TMF) is designed to be a full cost-recovery revolving fund that finances the transition of Federal agencies from antiquated legacy IT systems to more effective, secure, and modern IT platforms. The fund serves as a long-term, self-sustaining mechanism for Federal agencies to regularly refresh outdated networks and systems with the newest technologies and security capabilities,” the budget proposal said. “This funding request aligns with congressional efforts to pass authorizing legislation further directing the purposes and activities of the TMF, as outlined in the Modernizing Government Technology Act moving in parallel with the president’s FY 2018 Budget.”
“I’ve worked hard to earn broad bipartisan support in the House, Senate and administration and I am grateful for the widespread recognition of the need to modernize our government systems,” MGT’s sponsor, Rep. Will Hurd, R-Texas, told MeriTalk. “This portion of the budget recognizes those priorities, but like all presidents’ budgets, there are still many steps to go before this funding becomes a reality. I am cautiously optimistic that Congress will continue to prioritize the safety and security of our digital information and infrastructure, and am committed to championing the initiative throughout the budget and appropriations process.”
This modernization funding likely accounts for an approximately $300 million proposed increase in GSA’s funding from 2017 to 2018.
The current text of the MGT Act calls for a $250 million Federal Modernization Fund, just over the funding requested in the budget. And a recent Congressional Budget Office score puts the full cost of the bill at $500 million, half of which would be funded in 2018 and the other half in 2019.
A companion bill to MGT has been introduced in the Senate, but has yet to go through committee markup, meaning that the bill could change dollar amounts by the time it reaches the Senate floor.
The Trump administration has historically supported modernization efforts, as Hurd told MeriTalk that he worked with the White House Office of American Innovation on the bill’s development, and a recent executive order calls out IT modernization as a cybersecurity imperative.
Editor’s Note: This story was updated to include a comment from Hurd.