Capital, House of Representatives, Congress, Senate

With just 75 days to go until the 2018 midterm elections and amid mounting pressure for legislative action to boost election security, the Senate Committee on Rules and Administration postponed today’s scheduled business meeting on the Secure Elections Act, which would help state and local governments apply for Federal grants to modernize their election systems and receive relevant cyber threat information. […]

Thomas Fanning, chief executive officer of Atlanta-based electric utility holding company Southern Co. and a key player in developing private-sector cybersecurity policy, said today at a Senate subcommittee hearing that he has begun to have interactions with senior Federal government military leaders about capabilities to “hack back” at cyber attackers, but emphasized he believes that those types of retaliatory capabilities need to remain in the hands of the military rather than become a corporate function.






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Ajit Pai, FCC Commisioner

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai today defended his year-long public insistence that the FCC was the victim of a distributed-denial-of-service (DDoS) attack which impacted its electronic comment filing system during the agency’s net neutrality rulemaking proceeding last year, but admitted to having his own doubts about the cause of the system problem.






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Lisa Murkowski

While members of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee today appeared to be generally positive toward the nomination of Lane Genatowski to be the director of the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) at the Department of Energy, they also had some sharp questions for the nominee over his stated support for President Trumps’ plan to get rid of the organization.  






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Ajit Pai

In advance of his appearance before the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee scheduled for tomorrow, four House Democrats hammered Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai over statements he made in 2017 that the FCC was a victim of a distributed-denial-of-service (DDOS) attack which impacted its electronic comment filing system during the agency’s net neutrality rulemaking proceeding last year.






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Sen. Edward Markey, D-Mass., is pressing major electric utility companies for details about whether and when their systems have been penetrated by Russian-affiliated hackers, and at the same time is querying several Federal agencies about what they are doing to help utilities recognize and prevent attempts to break into their networks and control systems.






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Legislators and witnesses emphasized today at a hearing of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions the importance of improving interoperability of Electronic Health Record (EHR) systems and said interoperability improvements will not only save administrative time and money but also will improve the quality of care patients receive.






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The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee’s information technology and government operations subcommittees held a joint hearing Wednesday to key in on the most salient, persistent, and omnipresent issue in Federal agency IT: cybersecurity. On hand to testify were Federal CIO Suzette Kent, and Comptroller General Gene Dodaro, seeking to illuminate congressional inquirers on Federal agency progress to mitigate the wide range of cyber risks.






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Federal CIO Suzette Kent, testifying today at a joint subcommittee hearing of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, said that the Federal government intends to complete all of the tasks outlined in the Federal IT Modernization Report by the end of the year. She said that the majority of those tasks are already complete, and that many have beaten the timelines the government had set for itself.






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Congress, in its conference report for the National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2019 released earlier this week, is demanding more transparency from the Pentagon regarding the agency’s Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) cloud contract.






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Today’s House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform (OGR) covered the waterfront on election cybersecurity issues but came up with little that differed much from many of the other election cybersecurity hearings that have happened on the Hill over the last few months. The greatest hits were once again discussed–concerns over involvement in the 2016 election, threats facing the 2018 midterm elections, and how to respond to Russia cyber aggression towards U.S. election infrastructure and technology.






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If industry and government can successfully collaborate on massive and necessary IT development and regulatory efforts, you may be able to hail a flying car roughly ten years from now in many U.S. urban centers, said government and industry officials at a House Science, Space, and Technology Committee hearing today.






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The Senate voted on Monday to confirm Robert Wilkie as Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary by a vote of 86-9, solidifying top leadership at VA in the midst of ongoing change and uncertainty at the second-largest Federal agency.






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The House Intelligence Committee today heard testimony from several witnesses who warned that China is actively working to infringe upon the intellectual property rights of U.S. entities, engages in cyberespionage against the United States, and poses a growing cyberthreat to the country.






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Margaret Weichert, deputy director for management at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and one of the Trump administration’s most visible point persons promoting its plan to reorganize numerous aspects of Federal civilian agencies, said on Wednesday that the first fruits of that plan may be efforts to standardize aspects of the Federal cybersecurity workforce, ease the backlog of Federal background checks, and make improvements in the provision of government digital services generally.






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