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 McCaul (R-Texas), the ranking member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, alongside Reps. Jim Langevin (D-R.I.), Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.), and Cedric Richmond (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.”
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 Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (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 Thompson (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.