With the 2020 national election cycle on the horizon, House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., convened a hearing Wednesday to examine the how the United States was working to secure its elections. The hearing, broken into two panels, heard from senior Federal election officials, as well as state and local election officials.






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voting, election, election security

With the 2020 national election cycle on the horizon, House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., convened a hearing Wednesday to examine the how the United States was working to secure its elections, and despite some partisan squabbling from members over the issue, a senior Homeland Security Department (DHS) official testified that election security is on the upswing.






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Sens. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., and John Thune, R-S.D., introduced new legislation Monday to address the cybersecurity workforce shortage plaguing the Federal government. The legislation, called the Cyber Security Exchange Act, would establish a public-private cybersecurity worker exchange program.






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Net Neutrality

Two senior House leaders with jurisdiction over major tech-sector issues drew familiar battle lines today over the issue of net neutrality – or how providers of Internet service should or should not have their service offerings and operations regulated by the Federal government.






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FITARA Awards
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Top officials from communications industry trade groups told members of the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee today what few, if any, in the hearing room would disagree with:  the United States needs to win the global race to leadership in 5G communications services and technologies.






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Several senators took a skeptical view today over the Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA’s) Electronic Health Records Modernization effort (EHRM), raising questions on the need for better IT infrastructure, scheduling systems, and leadership structure.






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In a letter on Friday, Sen. Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., questioned Steven Dillingham, director of the U.S. Census Bureau, over how nearly $5 billion in IT costs are being managed by the Bureau. His concerns come as IT costs grew by $1.56 billion between October 2015 and December 2017.






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Federal Cloud Flag

If recent events are any indication, we could be seeing big changes to agency cloud migration plans in 2019. The Federal government could be rethinking its role in owning and operating its own data centers, strongly questioning whether that is a job best left to government employees.






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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., on Tuesday released the Democratic roster for the Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress, which was created as part of a House Rules package adopted earlier this month when Democratic leadership took over in the House. Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., has not yet named the committee’s Republican members.






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Rep. Will Hurd, R-Texas, who has been an advocate for Federal IT policies on Capitol Hill, announced that he will be a member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Military Construction and Veterans Affairs, and the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development.






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Congress Capitol Senate House

The House Oversight and Reform Committee announced the leadership and membership of its subcommittees on Tuesday, with Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., as chairman of the Subcommittee on Government Operations, which will handle Federal IT oversight duties. Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., will service as the subcommittee’s ranking member.






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Multiple tech-related issues including cybersecurity, social media manipulation, and intellectual property theft took center stage today at a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing featuring six U.S. intelligence organization chiefs fielding senators’ questions about threats to the country from adversaries who they said are becoming more dangerous as they better understand and use technology.






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During the State of the Net 2019 Conference, cybersecurity experts zeroed in on how the shutdown impacted not only the United States’ cybersecurity posture but also the Federal government’s cybersecurity workforce.






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Rep. Bob Latta, R-Ohio, ranking member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s subcommittee on Communications and Technology, delivered a wide-ranging survey of tech issues in the panel’s gunsights for this year and beyond during a keynote speech at the State of the Net 2019 conference today, and generally came down on the lighter side of the regulatory spectrum.






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With the 116th session of Congress now well underway, committee and subcommittee rosters are being finalized. For those in the Fed IT world, there are a few committee assignments to pay attention to.






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