President-elect Joe Biden is hoping to push a massive COVID-19 relief bill through Congress in the first few months of his presidency, an ambitious plan that could meet rough partisan headwinds. He will announce the plan on Thursday night.
Here are the sections of the bill that could prove to be a windfall for the tech industry, according to a fact sheet from Biden's team obtained by Protocol.
$130 billion to help schools reopen safely: Some of this money could shore up schools' remote-learning capabilities. The funds could help to "close the digital divide that is
exacerbating inequities during the pandemic," according to the document.
$9 billion to expand the Technology Modernization Fund: This money would help the U.S. launch new IT and cybersecurity shared services at the Cyber Security and Information Security Agency and General Services Administration. This is an important move following the historic SolarWinds hack, and major companies like Amazon and Microsoft could help out with these efforts.
$200 million to hire technology and cyber experts: The government could hire hundreds of tech and cyber experts to support the federal chief information security officer and U.S. Digital Service.
$300 million for IT projects at the General Services Administration: This would bolster IT projects across the government.
The COVID-19 relief package does not set aside funding specifically for broadband, unlike previous relief packages that passed through Congress, which included millions to address the so-called "digital divide." It's possible that Biden will push for broadband funding in a future infrastructure package.
Emily Birnbaum (
@birnbaum_e) is a tech policy reporter with Protocol. Her coverage focuses on the U.S. government's attempts to regulate one of the most powerful industries in the world, with a focus on antitrust, privacy and politics. Previously, she worked as a tech policy reporter with The Hill after spending several months as a breaking news reporter. She is a Bethesda, Maryland native and proud Kenyon College alumna.