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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: Pentagon prepping for Trump order to draw down in Afghanistan, Iraq | Questions swirl after DOD purge | 10th service member killed by COVID-19 Former VOA producer sues US global media agency over termination Record number of women to serve in the next Congress MORE (R-Texas), the ranking member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, alongside Reps. Jim LangevinJames (Jim) R. LangevinPressure grows to reinstall White House cyber czar Hillicon Valley: Biden expected to take hard line on foreign interference | EU files antitrust charges against Amazon | Facebook takes down Bannon-linked network Biden's hard stand on foreign election interference signals funding fight MORE (D-R.I.), Mike GallagherMichael (Mike) John GallagherReestablishing American prosperity by investing in the 'Badger Belt' Actors union blasts Democrat for criticizing GOP lawmaker's wife Federal commission issues recommendations for securing critical tech against Chinese threats MORE (R-Wis.), and Cedric RichmondCedric Levon RichmondBiden: 'Difficult decision' to staff administration with House, Senate members Five House Democrats who could join Biden Cabinet Sunday shows - Virus surge dominates ahead of fraught Thanksgiving holiday 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 PelosiSpending deal clears obstacle in shutdown fight Ocasio-Cortez, Cruz trade jabs over COVID-19 relief: People 'going hungry as you tweet from' vacation Rep. Rick Allen tests positive for COVID-19 MORE (D-Calif.) and Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin Owen McCarthyRichmond says GOP 'reluctant to stand up and tell the emperor he wears no clothes' Sunday shows preview: Biden transition, COVID-19 spike in spotlight Drastic cuts proposed to Medicare would hurt health care quality 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 ThompsonTrump relents as GSA informs Biden transition to begin Hillicon Valley: Leadership changes at top cyber agency raise national security concerns | Snapchat launches in-app video platform 'Spotlight' | Uber, Lyft awarded federal transportation contract Democrats accuse GSA of undermining national security by not certifying Biden win 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.