As Congressional members celebrate and lament the results of yesterday’s midterm elections, Federal IT leaders face a changed landscape on Capitol Hill, with a new party in charge of the House and close elections for several members key to initiatives like FITARA, Continuous Diagnostics and Mitigation (CDM), and IT modernization. Here are some of the key races and their results:
Rep. Will Hurd
One of the key proponents of FITARA, Republican Will Hurd, is in a close race in Texas’ 23rd congressional district against Democrat Gina Ortiz Jones. (Editor’s Note: The Associated Press initially called the race for Hurd Tuesday night, but retracted its call early Wednesday morning. Ortiz Jones has not conceded, and has called for all ballots to be counted. The story has been updated to reflect these developments.) Hurd, the chairman of the House Oversight Committee’s IT subcommittee, has been key to IT modernization efforts, cosponsoring the Modernizing Government Technology (MGT) Act that became law in December 2017. Recently, Hurd has cosponsored the Federal CIO Authorization Act, which would elevate the Federal CIO and CISO positions, and helped lead the charge to ensure full funding for the Technology Modernization Fund. If reelected, Hurd will remain as a key member in Congress for Federal IT policy, although he will no longer chair the IT subcommittee with the Democrats taking the House.
Rep. Gerry Connolly
Meanwhile, Hurd’s colleague in the IT subcommittee on the other side of the aisle, Rep. Gerry Connolly of Virginia’s 11th Congressional District, won reelection comfortably in a solidly blue district. Connolly, who received the award of FITARA champion during MeriTalk’s inaugural FITARA Awards, has been a key figure for IT modernization efforts, most recently introducing a bill to codify the FedRAMP program into law. Like Hurd, Connolly was a cosponsor of the MGT Act, and has been an advocate for providing full funding for TMF. With the Democrats taking the House, Connolly can back IT modernization efforts from a stronger leadership position.
Rep. Robin Kelly
As ranking member of the House Oversight IT Subcommittee, Rep. Robin Kelly, who represents Illinois’ 2nd District, will continue to be an important figure to Federal IT policy, safely winning reelection for her third full term. Kelly has been an advocate for replacing legacy systems, and served as a cosponsor on the MGT Act. Kelly has also shown a willingness to work across the aisle, recently publishing a report on artificial intelligence with Hurd, as well as working with Hurd on the Federal CIO Authorization Act. With the Democrats in charge of the House, Kelly can back modernization from the majority.
Rep. John Ratcliffe
Rep. John Ratcliffe, representing Texas’ 4th district, won reelection convincingly, keeping a major cybersecurity advocate in the House. Ratcliffe, the chairman of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Protection subcommittee in the House Homeland Committee, introduced the Advancing Cybersecurity Diagnostics and Mitigation Act in July, which would codify the CDM program into law. He has been a strong advocate for protecting government networks, and pushed to address the cybersecurity skills gap. However, with Democrats taking the House, Ratcliffe will have to advocate from cybersecurity from the minority, opening the door for a new Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Protection subcommittee chairperson.
Sen. Claire McCaskill
Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri, a member of the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee (HSGAC), lost her campaign for reelection to Republican Josh Hawley. McCaskill has been involved in recent supply chain security efforts, introducing the Federal Acquisition Supply Chain Security Act in the Senate. McCaskill has also been involved in election security efforts during her tenure. With her loss, Democrats will need to find a new ranking member for the HSGAC committee.