A bipartisan group of senators consisting of Sens. Mark Warner, D-Va., Steve Daines, R-Mt., and Thom Tillis, R-N.C., are asking the Senate Appropriations Committee to add at least $300 million to the Technology Modernization Fund (TMF) for fiscal year (FY) 2023.

In a May 12 letter sent to Senate Appropriations Committee leadership, the senators noted that the TMF – which works to fund Federal agency IT modernization projects – will likely have exhausted the majority of its funds by the end of FY2022 ending Sept. 30.

“By necessity, efforts to modernize and improve the security of IT systems require ongoing and sustained effort by agencies,” the lawmakers wrote. “Congress has a similar responsibility to continue to fund modernization efforts, so that legacy systems aren’t left to grow increasingly costly and insecure over time.”

The TMF received $1 billion of new funding in 2021 under the American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act. However, as the senators noted, the demand outweighed the supply – the TMF Board received 108 proposals from Federal agencies totaling $2.1 billion of IT modernization projects competing for some of that $1 billion.

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The senators’ request matches President Biden’s $300 million TMF request in late March, which would help backfill the $320 million the fund has already awarded to Federal agencies after its $1 billion injection from the ARP. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce also asked for the same amount in a letter to both Senate and House Appropriations committees earlier this month.

“The TMF presents agencies with a funding vehicle that is agile and allows them to amortize modernization costs, and that makes technical experts available to agencies throughout the proposal and implementation phases,” the senators said.

“It also provides Congress a tool with additional accountability and oversight, in the form of board-review of proposals, incremental funding based on outcome-based milestones, and regular follow-up with funding recipients during funding implementation,” they continued.

Sens. Warner, Daines, and Tillis also said the additional TMF funding will help to address “urgent” security concerns and improve the public’s ability to interact with the government.

The $300 million request for FY2023 follows the rejection by Congress earlier this year of a $500 million TMF funding request by the administration for FY2022.

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Grace Dille
Grace Dille
Grace Dille is MeriTalk's Assistant Managing Editor covering the intersection of government and technology.