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 McCaulAfghan evacuees to be housed at Virginia base Passport backlog threatens to upend travel plans for millions of Americans US lawmakers express shock at Haitian president's assassination MORE (R-Texas), the ranking member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, alongside Reps. Jim LangevinJames (Jim) R. LangevinBiden celebrates anniversary of Americans with Disabilities Act Cybersecurity bills gain new urgency after rash of attacks Senate unanimously approves Jen Easterly to lead DHS cyber agency MORE (D-R.I.), Mike GallagherMichael (Mike) John GallagherThe Hill's Morning Report - Pelosi considers adding GOP voices to Jan. 6 panel Ron Johnson: 'I may not be the best candidate' for 2022 midterms Biden, Democrats' lack of urgency towards China poses significant threat to America's security MORE (R-Wis.), and Cedric RichmondCedric RichmondBiden walks fine line with Fox News Critical race theory becomes focus of midterms Democrats look to flip script on GOP 'defund the police' attacks 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 PelosiTim Ryan slams McCarthy for mocking Capitol physician, mask mandate McCarthy knocks Pelosi, mask mandate: 'This House has broken the country's trust' Senate votes to take up infrastructure deal MORE (D-Calif.) and Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin McCarthyTim Ryan slams McCarthy for mocking Capitol physician, mask mandate McCarthy knocks Pelosi, mask mandate: 'This House has broken the country's trust' GOP, Democrats battle over masks in House, Senate 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 ThompsonBudowsky: Liz Cheney, a Reagan Republican, and Pelosi, Ms. Democrat, seek Jan. 6 truth The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Officers recount the horror of Jan. 6 GOP up in arms over Cheney, Kinzinger 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.