TMF, USDS hit with cuts in 2024 funding bill

Text of a funding package released by lawmakers Thursday as they look to avoid a government shutdown includes steep cuts for several key government technology accounts. 

The fiscal 2024 package, which includes funding for several departments and agencies as a followup to the minibus that funded other parts of the government and passed earlier this month, would rescind $100 million from the Technology Modernization Fund’s tranche of American Rescue Plan Act funding.

That pandemic response law gave the revolving IT fund $1 billion, but annual appropriations to add to the fund have since dwindled. 

Lawmakers put $50 million into the TMF in fiscal 2023. The White House asked for $200 million in fiscal 2024, but the bill released Thursday would add nothing to the fund and instead take TMF money back. 

The White House’s recently released 2025 budget request seeks $75 million for the fund. GSA’s budget states that the TMF “is on track to allocate the vast majority of current funds…and is planning to announce several large value investments in the first half of 2024.”

The clawback is less than some on Capitol Hill had been considering. The Senate Appropriations Committee previously approved a proposal that would’ve taken back $290 million. But advocates for the fund remain concerned.

“We have got to stop treating government IT as a luxury. The TMF is not a slush fund to be raided when budget negotiations get tough,” Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., told Nextgov/FCW in a statement. “I will not stop fighting until our government has the resources it needs to keep up with 21st century technological demands.”

Funding dedicated to the Information Technology Oversight and Reform account, which is used by the Office of the Federal Chief Information Officer and the U.S. Digital Service, would also see cuts under the appropriations package.

The bill would rescind $10 million in ARPA funding from the account, but also add $8 million in annual appropriations dollars. USDS received $200 million from ARPA to use through the end of fiscal 2024.

The administration asked for about $14 million for the account in its 2024 budget request and Congress enacted near that amount for fiscal 2023.

USDS has been funding its operations through ARPA money and will do so through the end of this year, when it’s looking for $30 million in fiscal 2025 to as the service goes back to relying on ITOR funding, according to the White House’s budget request, which seeks $44.5 million for OFCIO.

The General Services Administration’s Federal Citizen Services Fund — administered by the Technology Transformation Services to support digital services governmentwide — didn’t face a clawback of any of the $150 million it received from ARPA. But lawmakers did reduce its annual appropriations as compared to last year.

This year, the fund would get $75 million — down from $90 million last year — with a cap of $250 million to cover both appropriations and fee collections for services provided to other agencies. The appropriations text also includes a “spending plan” requirement that GSA must submit to the House Appropriations Committee for every project.

GSA did not respond to a request for comment by publication time. OMB referred Nextgov/FCW to the administration’s official statement on the package, which the administration has said should be passed quickly. 

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TMF, USDS hit with cuts in 2024 funding bill:

Text of a funding package released by lawmakers Thursday as they look to avoid a government shutdow…