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House lawmakers lead efforts to include IT modernization funds in next stimulus bill

House lawmakers lead efforts to include IT modernization funds in next stimulus bill

A bipartisan group of House lawmakers is working together to gather support for including funds to boost state-level information technology security and modernization efforts in the next COVID-19 stimulus package.

Rep. Michael McCaulMichael Thomas McCaulOvernight Defense: Biden sends message with Syria airstrike | US intel points to Saudi crown prince in Khashoggi killing | Pentagon launches civilian-led sexual assault commission Lawmakers line up behind potential cyber breach notification legislation Biden signs supply chain order after 'positive' meeting with lawmakers MORE (R-Texas), the ranking member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, alongside Reps. Jim LangevinJames (Jim) R. LangevinLawmakers line up behind potential cyber breach notification legislation Lawmakers to roll out legislation reorganizing State cyber office Hassan to chair Senate emerging threats subcommittee MORE (D-R.I.), Mike GallagherMichael (Mike) John GallagherLawmakers to roll out legislation reorganizing State cyber office House Republicans gear up for conference meeting amid party civil war Back to the future: America must renew its commitment to scientific inquiry MORE (R-Wis.), and Cedric RichmondCedric RichmondBottom line Biden pledges action on guns amid resistance Congressional Black Caucus to push aggressive agenda MORE (D-La.), plan to send a “Dear Colleagues” letter next week to House lawmakers asking them to support funding state efforts to boost network security. 

“Unfortunately, our digital infrastructure is (virtually) crumbling,” the lawmakers wrote in the planned letter. “Federal agencies often rely on IT systems that are decades old, and the problems are all the more acute at the state and local level.”

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They emphasized that “we believe the urgent need for revamping our digital government infrastructure has never been more clear,” and asked their colleagues to join them in sending a letter to Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiMcCarthy: 'I would bet my house' GOP takes back lower chamber in 2022 After vote against coronavirus relief package, Golden calls for more bipartisanship in Congress Democrats don't trust GOP on 1/6 commission: 'These people are dangerous' MORE (D-Calif.) and Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin McCarthyMcCarthy: 'I would bet my house' GOP takes back lower chamber in 2022 Democrats don't trust GOP on 1/6 commission: 'These people are dangerous' Sunday shows preview: 2024 hopefuls gather at CPAC; House passes coronavirus relief; vaccine effort continues MORE (R-Calif.) asking for IT modernization funding. 

The lawmakers requested that any funding sent to states include IT modernization and security funds for local governments as well, and that the funds address both current and future IT needs. 

“As we consider additional legislative measures to address the urgent needs of our citizens, we encourage you to consider the digital infrastructure on which so many of our constituents rely to access vital government services,” the House members wrote. 

Richmond serves as the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee’s cyber panel. Langevin and Gallagher are member of the Cyberspace Solarium Commission, a group composed of government and industry officials that released recommendations on how to defend the U.S. in cyberspace in March. 

The House members are not the first on Capitol Hill to advocate for cybersecurity and IT modernization funds. House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Bennie ThompsonBennie Gordon ThompsonLawmakers line up behind potential cyber breach notification legislation NAACP president accuses Trump of having operated under 'white supremacist doctrine' Lawmakers blame SolarWinds hack on 'collective failure' to prioritize cybersecurity MORE (D-Miss.) and other Democrats sent a letter to Pelosi and McCarthy last month specifically asking that they support funding cyber defense at the state and local levels.

A coalition of major tech groups has also pushed Congress to include these funds in recent weeks. 

But timing around when the House will consider the next COVID-19 stimulus package is unclear, with the House still out of session, and Senate Republicans increasingly cautious about what will be included in the package.