The Senate Appropriations Committee agreed federal agencies need $2.25 billion to fix their year-2000 computer problems.

John Raffetto, a committee spokesman, said it is "painfully apparent" that many federal agencies are "far, far behind where they should be" in fixing their year-2000 bugs.

The General Accounting Office has reached a similar conclusion in a series of stinging reports on the government's year-2000 efforts.

"This is a huge step forward," said Harris N. Miller, president of the Information Technology Association of America.

The funding would be included in an emergency measure that still must be attached to one of 13 appropriations bills and then passed by the Senate, the House, and finally signed by President Clinton.

As a result, it could be months before the agencies are able to collect the $2.25 billion. "This is purely a benchmark," said Mr. Raffetto. "It's not available yet."

Sen. Robert Bennett, R-Utah, asked for the funding. He leads the recently created Senate Special Committee on the Year-2000 Technology Problem.

Appropriations Chairman Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, is an ex officio member of that committee.

Subscribe Now

Access to authoritative analysis and perspective and our data-driven report series.

14-Day Free Trial

No credit card required. Complete access to articles, breaking news and industry data.