The House Budget Committee has completed its markup of President Biden’s $1.9 trillion American Rescue Act, keeping the bill on schedule for a vote in the full House later this week before it heads to the Senate for consideration.

Notably absent from the House bill is any additional funding proposed by the White House in January to modernize Federal agency IT operations and improve Federal network security following the Russia-backed hack of networks via SolarWinds Orion products.

If the House version of the relief bill wins final approval in that chamber, it will then head to the Senate for consideration, and where it still could be amended to allow for additional provisions such as funding for Federal IT and security projects.

Rough Road for IT Funding

The White House’s proposed $9 billion funding boost for the Technology Modernization Fund (TMF) – which finances Federal IT modernization projects – fell victim to Senate opposition in initial negotiations between the House and Senate over the Biden relief plan.

Remaining in play was another $1.2 billion of security and tech funding for the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), the General Services Administration’s (GSA) Technology Transformation Services (TTS) unit, and for the IT Oversight and Reform Fund and the United States Digital Service.

But a review of the 591-page document marked up by the House Budget Committee shows that none of the $1.2 billion in proposed security and tech spending survived the process of House committees writing the legislative language that underpins the larger relief bill.

The House Budget Committee was not allowed to amend the bill during its markup process, but it voted to transmit the document to the House with a favorable recommendation. The bill will now head to the House Rules Committee for an amendment process before the full House votes on the bill as soon as this Friday.

The House bill is the product of collaboration between nine committees; 12 were given reconciliation instructions, but three did not submit before the deadline. The House Rules Committee review has a process for the committee to reconcile the legislation to meet reconciliation instructions agreed upon before the bill is brought to a vote in front of the entire House.

The Rules Committee has not yet announced when it will take up the bill, but House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., has announced he expects the bill to pass the House by the end of the week.

If the bill is approved by the House, the Senate will have the opportunity to add amendments and then vote on its own version of the bill. The Senate would then send its version of the legislation back to the House for final approval.

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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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