CONGRESS LIKELY TO WITHHOLD MORE MODERNIZATION MONEY PENDING RESULTS
Despite strong support for IT modernization, Senators are poised to withhold funding from the one account dedicated to modernization projects until OMB and GSA can show results on money already allocated for such projects. $100 million was available during FY’18 in that specialized fund, with $45 million already being spent. The management board overseeing fund allocations seemed poised to spend the rest of the money on some of the 20 competing projects by fiscal year end, but it is uncertain if they will do so if no new money is coming from Congress. While it is perfectly reasonable to want to see results from the money awarded so far, there has not been nearly enough time for any such project to be implemented. It may be a year or more before a project is far enough along to begin showing a positive return on investment. Similarly, the revolving nature of the fund means that it may take a few years before agencies using fund money can pay it back. It is tempting to say that Congress should show the same concern for taxpayer money on much larger projects going to pet constituent projects, but we’re not that type of people. Instead, contractors and government agencies need to prepare for at least a one-year lapse in funding for the IT Management Account. Whether or not OMB will be able to re-direct other money is very unclear. Plan accordingly.