Rosen Calls for Greater Access to Technology Resources for State and Local Governments During COVID-19 Crisis

WASHINGTON, D.C.– Senator Jacky Rosen (D-NV), a member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, joined 15 of her Senate colleagues in urging Congressional leadership to provide additional technology resources for state and local governments managing the impacts of the COVID-19 crisis.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has overwhelmed state and local government benefits systems due to unprecedented numbers of applications and outdated systems. More than 22 million Americans have filed unemployment claims in the past four weeks alone. These federal programs, which are administered by the states, are of the utmost importance to American workers and businesses. They must be able to serve this skyrocketing need, per Congressional intent in the CARES Act.” wrote the Senator.

BACKGROUND: In the letter, the Members call for Congressional leadership to make federal technology resources – like the United States Digital Service (USDS) and the Technology Transformation Service (TTS) – more readily available to state and local governments. In order to do so, the legislators encouraged that the following be included in the next COVID-19 package:

The United States Digital Service (USDS):

•        Provide $50 million in emergency appropriations to hire additional skilled technology support staff who could immediately begin to serve their country.

•        Ensure these funds are specifically targeted to support state and local governments administering new federal programs, or for federal programs that  directly serve the American people.

•        Waive or streamline restrictions on USDS’s work with state and local governments.

•        Encourage USDS to prioritize COVID-19 related projects, including those with state customers.

The Technology Transformation Service (TTS):

•        Provide $25 million in emergency appropriations to the Federal Citizen Services Fund.

•        Ensure funds are directed to support of state and local governments, including use, configuration, and advice on the purchase of technology products and services. This should include cloud service authorizations to enable cloud adoption by state and local governments.

•        Waive or significantly streamline restrictions on TTS to work with state and local governments, including restrictions on funding sources, signatory requirements, and acquisition services support.

•        Waive restrictions on states and local governments to enable them to purchase the products created by the federal government.

•        Encourage TTS (and General Services Administration as a whole) to prioritize COVID-19 related projects including those with state customers.