SURPRISE! CONGRESS INCLUDES $1B FOR TECH MODERNIZATION. HERE’S WHERE IT GOES
The IT Modernization Fund will end up getting its $1B infusion after all. Efforts of senior administration officials, coupled with specifics on where the money will be spent, were enough to overcome Senate doubters. The $1B is part of the $1.9T COVID relief package. $650 million of the money is going straight do DHS for cybersecurity projects. The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency will oversee the distribution of that money. $200 million will go to the US Digital Service for various IT projects, with the remaining $150M headed to the Federal Citizens Services Fund. The IT Modernization Fund is a type of revolving account, meaning that agencies will have to pay that money back to the fund via realized savings. Other agencies will then be able to apply for fund dollars for their own projects. The directed spending approach, however, may be an indication of how the fund will receive additional money in the future: specific projects up front, with re-paid funds available for others later. While it is too soon to tell what extra money might come, it is worth noting that the Biden administration has already indicated support for as much as $9 billion for it. Contractors should reach out to the three initial agencies receiving funds now. While some of the cyber money may be spoken for, contractors previously played an important role in shaping project proposals seeking fund money. In addition to the funding for the TMF and other cybersecurity and IT initiatives, the Senate bill included the extension of the Section 3610 authorities to let agencies pay contractors if they cannot work during the pandemic.