Proposed funding for a host of new tech-related spending projects are springing forth from new House committee legislative prints contributing to the $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill, and now it’s wait-and-see on which – if any – of them survive what is likely to be a free-wheeling House-Senate negotiation on the giant spending bill.

Facing a September 15 deadline, most House committees tasked with writing legislative language for the $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill have completed their markups and submitted prints – exposing plans for billions in spending on tech, cybersecurity, and supply chain improvements.

The House Energy and Commerce Committee and Ways and Means Committee were the last two committees marking up their legislation today; every other committee wrapped up their own efforts by end of the day on September 14.

Here are some of the bigger tech and cyber proposed spending highlights from the committees:

Oversight Committee Makes an Early Splash

As far as tech priorities go, the House Oversight and Reform Committee made the first splash of the reconciliation process on Sept. 2. The committee wrote in $12 billion in funding to electrify the Federal vehicle fleet, and Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., tacked on an additional $3.35 billion for IT modernization in an amendment he sponsored.

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Funding to electrify the Federal vehicle fleet will help fulfill a priority President Biden signaled from the first days of his administration. A January estimate tagged the electrification of the Federal fleet as potentially costing $20 billion, and more than half of that would be accomplished through the committee’s proposal.

Rep. Connolly – who chairs the subcommittee on Government Operations and has consistently used his post to push for IT modernization efforts – offered an amendment that would add $3.35 billion to the committee’s print.

That amendment includes an additional $1 billion to the Technology Modernization Fund, $2 billion to the General Service Administration’s (GSA) Federal Citizen Services Fund, and $350 million to Office of Management and Budget’s (OMB) Information Technology Oversight and Reform (ITOR) account. The funding for the ITOR account would be used to update the Federal IT Dashboard to track Federal IT spending.

NIST Gets $1.2 billion for Cyber, Emerging Tech Research

The House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology was the next tech domino to fall, completing its markup on Sept. 9, which included nearly $1.2 billion to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to fund research on cybersecurity and other emerging tech priorities.

The $1.195 billion the committee appropriated for NIST would be used for scientific and technical research into the areas of artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, quantum information science and tech, biotechnologies, and a few other emerging tech research areas.

The committee also included $7 million to NASA for cybersecurity measures to help secure two other investments in the agency the print makes.

Homeland Security Gives CISA $865M

The Homeland Security Committee finished its markup late Sept. 14 and included $865 million in funding for the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA).

The biggest chunk of funding for the agency is $400 million to be used to help fund the implementation of President Biden’s cybersecurity executive order (EO). The print also gives the agency $210 million for operations – around 10 percent of CISA’s annual operations budget – and another $100 million to create a Cybersecurity Education and Training workforce development and upskilling program.

The rest of the print’s funding includes:

  • $50 million to establish a Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis Center;
  • $50 million to expand CISA’s Crossfeed program;
  • $25 million for CISA to help develop and execute a national multi-factor authentication campaign;
  • $20 million for the agency to expand its programs that work with international partners to protect critical infrastructure; and
  • $10 million to develop a continuity of economy plan, as required by the fiscal year 2021 National Defense Authorization Act, in the event the nation faces a major disruption.

Energy and Commerce Spends Big on Supply Chain, EBB

The Energy and Commerce Committee included $10 billion to fund supply chain resiliency and added $4 billion to the Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB) program created in March by the American Rescue Plan.

If passed, the committee’s supply chain funding would be used for critical supply chain mapping and monitoring; “facilitating and establishing voluntary standards, guidelines, and best practices to reduce risks to the resiliency, diversity, security, and strength of critical manufacturing supply chains;” and “identifying, accelerating, promoting, and demonstrating technological advances for critical manufacturing supply chains.”

Supply chain resiliency took on increased importance during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the bill would direct the Commerce Secretary to make grants and other funding available to support the resiliency of critical manufacturing supply chains.

The committee also included an additional $4 billion for the EBB. The Senate-passed Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act waiting for action in the House would make a few changes to the program, including cutting plan costs and changing the name to the Affordable Connectivity Benefit program.

The Best of the Rest

In addition to these programs, the Energy and Commerce Committee included billions to transition the nation to a Next Generation 9-1-1 system, and the Ways and Means Committee also included funding for an enrollment tool to help non-English speakers sign up for the Child Tax Credit.

Energy and Commerce also included $10 billion for the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) to oversee the deployment of a Next Generation 9-1-1 system. The committee also included $80 million for NTIA to also create a Next Generation 9-1-1 Cybersecurity Center and $10 million for the creation of a “Future of Telecommunications Council” to advise Congress on the development and adaptation of 6G and other advanced wireless communications technology.

Finally, the Ways and Means Committee – which was primarily tasked with coming up with ways to fund the bill – included $1 billion for the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to increase enrollment of eligible families in the Child Tax Credit program established this year.

That funding is expected to include outreach, systems changes, and more. Among the priorities is to make a mobile sign-up tool that is easy-to-use for non-English speakers, as well as non-tax filers.

What’s Next

The Energy and Commerce Committee completed its markup Wednesday afternoon, while Ways and Means is expected to finish its markups by the end of the day, which would then move the reconciliation package on to the next step of the process: consideration by the full House of Representatives.

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Lamar Johnson
Lamar Johnson
Lamar Johnson is a MeriTalk Staff Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.
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