President Barack Obama plans to ask Congress for $19 billion for federal cybersecurity efforts in fiscal 2017. The White House wants to use some of the money to create a $3.1 billion IT modernization fund and provide more education to federal employees as part of a new cyber national action plan.
My first thought on seeing the news on my smartphone with near-simultaneous alerts from four major news organizations: Oh, here comes another ugly battle in Washington.
The IRS answered 73 percent of phone calls during the 2016 tax filing season, compared with 37 percent in 2015. Average wait times were cut in half as well. Taxpayers waited an average of 11 minutes to speak with an IRS representative this year, compared to 23 minutes the year before.
The White House is also requesting a $3 billion boost to the Homeland Security Department, along with an additional $30 billion in defense and Overseas Contingency Operations funding for fiscal 2017. Civilian agencies would shoulder $18 billion in spending cuts. The additional funding for DHS would help the department prepare and enact the President’s executive orders on border security and immigration.
The process might not be pretty, but budget experts predict civilian agencies won’t face $18 billion in spending cuts during the last five months of fiscal 2017. The President submitted a budget amendment for 2017 last week, which proposed major boosts to defense and homeland security spending and civilian agency offsets.
According to budget documents that Federal News Radio obtained, the Food and Drug Administration would see $40 million in cuts to employee salaries and administrative expenses during the last five months of fiscal 2017. The Homeland Security Department would lose $41 million for the Financial Systems Modernization program, a shared services effort affiliated with the Interior Department’s Interior Business Center.