Big Tech Companies To Receive A Whopping $2B From the American Rescue Plan

The big twelve technology companies set to receive almost $2 billion in funding. On March 6, 2021,  the U.S. Senate sealed the manager’s amendment deal in  American Rescue Plan — to  provide  $1 billion for the Technology Modernization Fund, (TMF), $650 million for cybersecurity and another $350 million for other related IT modernization efforts without a sound plan and incompetent federal personal to get the job done in the best interest of the American people.

“Successful organizations require talented, diverse, highly engaged teams. The data shows that repeatedly,” Jason Miller, the president’s nominee for the deputy director for management position at OMB, said Thursday at his hearing before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. “When we look at the federal government … the engagement levels and the morale levels are not where they should be.”

“Having $1 billion dollars in the Technology Modernization Fund is a good first step and will be critical to helping address many of the common challenges still hampering effective IT transformation across the government, such as identity management, secure data sharing, leveraging AI and other emerging technologies to enhance citizen service delivery and expanding critical cybersecurity shared services to combat persistent threats,” said Matthew Cornelius, the executive director of the Alliance for Digital Innovation, an industry association, and a former senior technology and cybersecurity advisor at OMB, in an email to Federal News Network. “Because these funds are being provided as part of this relief bill and should be used to deal with immediate challenges, it is incumbent upon OMB and the General Services Administration to use the authorities they have under the MGT Act to suspend repayment and quickly make targeted investments to the most high priority projects in one or more agencies.”

The House will take up the American Rescue Plan, Tuesday, but the tech companies will most likely receive their 1 billion in funding.  The group of twelve tech companies wrote House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, (D-CA) Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, (D-NY) Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, (R-KY) and Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA)  requesting 9 billion for the TMF  “

We write in support of President Biden’s call for robust funding to modernize and secure federal information technology (IT) and networks in the proposed “American Rescue Plan.” The COVID-19 pandemic has greatly
accelerated the need for the Federal Government to modernize its aging IT infrastructure. We urge Congress to provide the $9 billion for the Technology Modernization Fund (TMF) that the President has called for in any emergency supplemental legislation. We further recommend that a substantial portion of the total amount provided be exempt from the TMF’s usual reimbursement requirements to accelerate urgent IT upgrades.”

Once Pelosi’s House approve of the partisan American Rescue Plan and President Joe Biden signs it into law, the TMF will receive  $1 billion —a big boost since the TMF has never  received more than $100 million at a time — the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency in the Department of Homeland Security would receive $650 million to shore up federal networks from cyber vulnerabilities, the U.S. Digital Service would receive $200 million and the Federal Citizen Services Fund would get $150 million.

The Biden’s administration supported the big twelve technology companies $9 billion request for the  TMF and another $1 billion for cybersecurity and IT modernization efforts to address the “urgent national security issue.”

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Aging IT at the Federal and state levels has hindered the ability of governments to quickly and efficiently get dollars, programs, and services to Americans in need. While commercial best practices are being used in the private sector to enable vaccine distribution, the Internal Revenue Service, Small Business Administration, and multiple state and local employment insurance programs have faced a number of high-profile challenges with tracking vaccines and distributing aid, is an unproven justification for $2 billion. 

Although the U.S. ranks #25 in the world in R&D tax credits, and AI is ranked #11 in the world in “technological readiness, and is  experiencing falling ranks in computer science and engineering–the federal government has failed to utilize its expertise in both areas.  The federal government has a discrimination problem in both areas—and have left Black technologist behind–like Silicon Valley left the Historical Black Colleges (HBCUs).

Source:Federal Network contributed to this article.

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