Five members of the House Oversight and Reform Committee are pressing the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and the General Services Administration (GSA) to develop a plan for prioritizing tech projects that are ripe for tackling with the $1 billion provided to the Technology Modernization Fund (TMF) under the American Rescue Plan Act.
The committee members – including Chairwoman Caroline Maloney, D-N.Y. and Government Operations Subcommittee Chairman Gerry Connolly, D-Va. – asked Acting OMB Director Shalanda Young and Acting GSA Administrator Katy Kale in a letter dated today for a TMF spending plan, and made a pitch for adjustments to the current repayment obligations placed on agencies that receive money from the fund.
“As the pandemic has demonstrated, IT is integral to the federal government’s mission,” the House members said. “Oversight of how these funds will be prioritized and allocated, including how the funds will be subject to the reimbursement model currently required by law, is necessary to protect this significant investment of taxpayer dollars.”
The committee members said the current five-year TMF reimbursement model is important because it keeps the fund self-sustaining, but they also said they “understood” during the legislative process for the American Rescue Plan Act that the existing reimbursement model “would need to be relaxed” in order to “ensure the most immediate and effective investment of the $1 billion TMF appropriation.” However, such a relaxation of repayment obligations was not written into the bill.
With that in mind, the letter asks OMB and GSA to produce for the Government Operations Subcommittee a spending plan for the new $1 billion of TMF funding, and to “include details on how the $1 billion will be at least partially subject to the reimbursement requirements.”
In particular, the committee members want the spending plan to include: how the TMF Program Management Office plans to scale up to handle a higher volume of project requests; how the TMF Board might encourage “proposals from agencies with the greatest IT modernization needs”; and a discussion of different criteria that may be used for projects that will require full repayment by borrowing agencies, versus projects that may not.
The letter also asks GSA and OMB to provide the subcommittee with a briefing by May 7 “to discuss the development and public release of the plan.”
Also signing the letter were Reps. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-D.C., Jamie Raskin, D-Md., and Katie Porter, D-Calif.