It’s the latest move by Jared Kushner’s new Office of American Innovation.
A group of House Republicans who have called for a new $ 500 million fund to upgrade the government’s aging tech tools huddled with President Donald Trump and his top aides on Thursday.
The meeting — convened in part by Jared Kushner, one of Trump’s leading advisers and the chief of the White House’s new Office of American Innovation — comes as the administration begins its work to rethink the way government buys software, upgrades its computers and provides services, like electronic health records for veterans.
In attendance at the previously unannounced meeting was House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., along with nine other GOP lawmakers, a spokesman for McCarthy confirmed to Recode. Representing the White House, with Kushner, were Reed Cordish, one of the president’s top tech advisers, and Haley Van Dyck, the co-founder of the United States Digital Service. Trump’s predecessor, President Barack Obama, created the group known as USDS in the aftermath of the Healthcare.gov technology meltdown.
Sources described the session as introductory. A White House aide said the focus was “improving citizen experiences with government services.” A spokesman, however, did not immediately provide a readout of what might have been said by Trump, who unexpectedly joined the gathering.
Still, the meeting comes a day after House Republicans joined with their Democratic counterparts to pass the Modernizing Government Technology Act, a proposal that’s now awaiting Senate consideration — and, potentially soon, a signature from the president.
The huddle with the GOP’s tech-minded lawmakers also precedes another, larger confab between the Trump administration and top executives from Apple, Amazon, Facebook, Google, IBM, Intel, Oracle and other tech companies, which is slated for June 19. The White House announced that meeting when Trump signed an executive order last month commissioning the American Technology Council, which is tasked with figuring out how to “transform and modernize” the aging federal bureaucracy “and how it uses and delivers information.”
“We are excited to work with President Trump, Vice President Pence, Jared Kushner and the White House Office of American Innovation as we continue to advance legislation that embraces new technologies and harnesses the innovative spirit of our citizens to solve problems and better serve our constituents,” McCarthy told Recode.