The Technology Modernization Fund is running out of money, and Congress isn’t looking to replenish it. The latest version of the Senate’s spending bill doesn’t include any funding for TMF, compared to $150 million in the White House’s initial request. Mike Hettinger, president of Hettinger Strategy Group, says that the TMF was stymied by a reluctance from agencies to utilize a working capital fund.
“Some agencies say they don’t have the authority to do it. Other agencies like SBA felt like they didn’t have the authority but went and got the authority through the appropriations process. That’s still a way we should be doing it. Again, there’s a reluctance,” Hettinger said. “One of the reasons MGT took so long to get done, is the appropriators are reluctant to appropriate money for one thing, allow it to go into a working capital fund, and be used for something else. I think that’s what we are seeing here.”
Rich Beutel, principal at Cyrrus Analytics, says that Congress’s reticence towards the program is odd, given the successes it’s generated.
“They do need to give it sufficient funding to run the operation itself and to maintain an operational cadence. What surprises me is that the original projects that went through this fund were pretty successful overall and have gotten good reviews,” Beutel said. “Why the Senate hadn’t been properly communicated with in some sense and affirms the need for the money is a bit of a challenge.”