The Senate Committee on Appropriations has allocated $25 million of new funding for the Technology Modernization Fund – falling below the Trump administration’s budget request of $150 million and equaling the House’s proposal – as part of the broader draft fiscal year 2021 Financial Services and General Government funding bill released today.
The $25 million set aside for the Technology Modernization Fund (TMF) is a step up from the $0 offered by the Senate in its fiscal year 2020 draft, but falls well short of the $150 million proposed by the White House, and the $1 billion proposed by the House as part of the HEROES Act. The Senate bill’s explanatory statement does not offer any reasoning for the funding level.
The TMF was created to finance IT modernization projects by Federal agencies, but its required repayment mechanisms have worked to tamp down demand for borrowings. The fund since 2018 has provided $116 million for ten agency modernization projects. The Trump administration has proposed $150 million for TMF in each of the past two fiscal years, but Congress has only appropriated $25 million in each of those years.
The draft form of the bill is unlikely to see a change to TMF’s funding levels during Senate deliberations, and negotiations with the House look relatively clear cut. The House approved a $25 million appropriation to the TMF in July, and while the House and Senate bills will need to be reconciled, the agreement of funding levels for the TMF makes it unlikely to budge.
“By and large, these bills are the product of bipartisan cooperation among members of the committee. As negotiations with the House begin in earnest, I look forward to working with Chairwoman Lowey, Vice Chairman Leahy, and Ranking Member Granger to resolve our differences in a bipartisan manner,” said Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., chairman of the Senate Committee on Appropriations.