Bipartisan Act to Modernize Federal IT Clears Senate

The MGT Act aims to slash wasteful IT spending and bolster information security.

The long-awaited effort to revamp government technology earned bipartisan approval Sept. 18 receiving funding as part of the defense spending bill passed in the Senate.

The Modernizing Government Technology Act aims to slash wasteful IT spending and bolster information security by speeding up the federal government’s move to more current technologies. The act would also create a $500 million fund agencies can borrow against to update old systems.

“The amount of money that our federal government spends on antiquated technology is mindboggling,” said Rep. Will Hurd, R-Texas, who co-authored the bill and serves as chair of the House Information Technology Subcommittee, said in a statement. “Outdated technology policies and poor cybersecurity hygiene have riddled government agencies for decades, leaving our digital information vulnerable to hacks and costing taxpayers billions.”

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The House passed the bill in May, and in April, Sens. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., and Tom Udall, D-N.M., introduced the Senate companion legislation.

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., called the Senate passage of the MGT Act “a major step forward in our goal of creating a more cost-efficient and digitally secure federal government.

“By leveraging new technologies, we will save taxpayers money and deliver a well-overdue update to our nation’s IT systems,” he said in a statement. “Representative Will Hurd has been relentless in his work on this innovative policy solution that will benefit all Americans.”

The legislation has been a rare example of both aisles working together.

“Modernizing the federal government isn’t a partisan issue, as we have seen in the adoption of FITARA and now with our work on the MGT Act,” said Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va. “By leveraging the savings realized by FITARA, the MGT Act will help bring our aging federal IT into the 21st century. I am pleased that [Monday's] action brings us one step closer to making the MGT Act a reality.”

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