Watchdog gives green light to partial reimbursement of TMF projects

Written by Dave Nyczepir

Agencies must repay some, but not necessarily all, of the funds they receive from the Technology Modernization Fund for IT and cybersecurity projects, according to a Government Accountability Office decision released Thursday.

Counsel for the GAO found that Section 1078 of the Fiscal Year 2018 National Defense Authorization Act gives the Office of Management and Budget and General Services Administration the authority to require a less than full, but not zero, repayment of TMF funds granted.

TMF board officials introduced additional partial and minimum repayment terms following the injection of $1 billion into the fund through the American Rescue Plan Act in March 2021, arguing that the window The original five-year repayment period had deterred some agencies from applying for funds. But the board still has an obligation to keep the TMF running.

“In setting repayment amounts and terms, the OMB and GSA must ensure the creditworthiness of
TMF including operating expenses,” writes Advocate General Edda Emmanuelli Perez in her discovery.

The senses. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, and Cindy Hyde-Smith, R-Miss., requested the decision in a June 15, 2021 letter to the United States Comptroller General who heads the GAO.

The GAO’s finding confirms the OMB and GSA’s “reasonable” position on the matter, given that the most pressing TMF projects may not have “easily realized” cost savings for their agencies. The ruling acknowledges that partial and minimal repayment plans “potentially diminish TMF’s operational capacity,” but notes that TMF’s board of directors is still limited in the amount of repayment it can waive because future appropriations from Congress will not are not guaranteed.

At the same time, there is a “legislative history” of additional TMF funds being made available, and the projects themselves are intended to generate additional modernization efforts and cost savings in agencies that they can, at in turn, use for repayment with, potentially, works capital funds, according to the finding.

“While IT agency working capital is available to repay TMF, it is also available for other purposes, and IT agency working capital should only be used to repay TMF with some approval,” the statement said. decision.

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