President Biden was poised late Friday to sign a full-year appropriations bill for fiscal year (FY) 2022 ending Sept. 30, after the Senate passed the spending bill late March 10.
Despite expectations that the Senate would need more time – and a short continuing resolution awaiting their use if necessary – the Senate powered through the passage of the legislation, with a 68-31 vote, getting it to the President’s desk before Federal funding was set to expire after March 11.
“The bipartisan funding bill proves once more that members of both parties can come together to deliver results for the American people,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement after the bill passed the Senate. “It will reduce costs for families and businesses, support our economic recovery, and advance American leadership abroad.”
TMF Shut Out for New Funding
While the $1.5 trillion spending bill does include numerous increases for cybersecurity and other tech-related spending, it notably shut the door on well-known funding avenues for Federal IT modernization such as the General Services Administration’s Technology Modernization Fund (TMF).
Despite a request from President Biden that the full-year budget include $500 million in additional funding for TMF, the program ended up with no new money for FY2022.
The funding was requested to build off a $1 billion infusion from the American Rescue Plan (ARP). Instead, the program will need to continue doling out the ARP funding, after investing an initial round of $311 million in projects in October 2021 and following that up with $9 million more in project funding earlier this week.
TMF is not the only Federal IT modernization program that saw little sizzle in the FY2022 appropriations bill. The Office of Management and Budget’s (OMB) IT Oversight and Reform (ITOR) Fund saw its funding cut to $8 million in FY2022, from $12.5 million in FY2021.
At the same time, GSA’s Federal Citizen Services Fund received $55 million for FY2022, in line with the previous year. FCSF also received an additional $150 million in FY2021 from the ARP.
“Investment in Federal information technology infrastructure to help agencies transform the way they use technology is important, including investments in cybersecurity and investments that make it easier for the public to interact with the Federal government,” appropriators wrote in the bill.
IT Funding Strategic Plan Requested
The bill also includes language that would require a report on a broader strategy for IT modernization funds, especially to prevent duplication of efforts.
“The Federal government must maximize the impact of these funds by developing a strategic plan for use of the funds that will prevent duplication of efforts, direct the funds to their highest use, and guarantee coordination among agencies,” the appropriators wrote.
The bill gives OMB 60 days to present a comprehensive plan for the use of the funds to the relevant committees.