House passes IT modernization bill

House passes IT modernization bill

The Modernizing Government Technology Act, aimed at upgrading woefully out-of-date agency information technology equipment, passed the House Thursday.

The bill, the marriage of two competing measures aimed at modernizing government technology, combined ideas from Rep. Will Hurd’s (R-Texas) MOVE IT Act and Rep. Steny Hoyer’s (D-Md.) IT Modernization Act. Both ideas would have created funds to allow agencies to replace obsolete equipment and reinvested the cost savings of using more efficient technology into upgrading more equipment. 

The difference between Hurd’s and Hoyer’s bills had been MOVE IT’s proposal to grant funds directly to agencies and allow them to reinvest money on their own. The IT Modernization Act used a centralized fund to loan money for the upgrades to be repaid in the savings. The MGT Act uses both funding mechanisms. 

The MGT Act passed under suspension of the rules on Thursday afternoon.

Hurd, Hoyer and other supporters, including federal chief technology officer Tony Scott, promote replacing out-of-date technology as cheaper than paying to maintain old legacy systems, and say it is also more secure. 

Moments after the bill cleared committee last week, Hurd appeared at a Internet Security Alliance conference to discuss cybersecurity. He devoted some time to the pending legislation.

“Not once did [my constituents] see a campaign ad about IT procurement. IT procurement is not a sexy topic. No one has ever thrown a rally for IT procurement,” Hurd said.

“But when the federal government is spending $80 billion on IT procurement and 80 percent of that is on old and outdated systems, people are automatically outraged."