CONGRESS BEGINS SENDING SIGNALS ABOUT FY’20 SPENDING – SURPRISES MAY BE IN STORE
Funding for the federal CIO office would go down by nearly half, to $15 million under a bill passed by House appropriators this week, a surprising potential cut from a Democratically controlled body that has traditionally favored overall IT investments in the federal space, including centralized IT management. In the meantime, though, the House bill would fund the Technology Modernization Fund at $35 million, a boost of new money that could enable more projects to proceed. These are among the early signs of where Congress may allocate funds for IT and related spending next fiscal year. Not surprising was the withholding of any money that would allow GSA to merge with the Office of Personnel Management. Although some functions have already been transferred to GSA, Congress is skeptical overall of placing the two agencies together. This area may shape up to be a fight later in the appropriations cycle. In the meantime, contractors should pay closer attention than usual to where Congress allocates federal IT money as it is likely to differ more than usual from the President’s budget request submitted earlier this year. Expect Congress to assert more of its own priorities. GSA contractors, meanwhile, should not see too much of an impact in the day to day workings of the agency from the uncertainty surrounding its status with OPM. There is only a small cadre of people working on the project and involvement outside of that group only at the senior-most levels of the agency.