After the House version of the reconciliation bill passed last week, the Senate will bring its version of the bill to a vote by week’s end, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said. While the Senate is still working on finalizing its draft of the legislation, parameters for votes and amendments have already been set, according to internal Senate communication.

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cybersecurity

The House Homeland Security and Oversight and Reform committees held a joint public hearing today to discuss the Russia-based hack of government and private sector networks via SolarWinds Orion products. During the hearing, both the private sector witnesses and members of Congress called for better cybersecurity practices, legislation, and increased information sharing.

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Budget Federal spending
Microsoft HQ

Microsoft President Brad Smith – whose company is no stranger to high-profile Federal contract award protests – urged steps to reexamine the bid protest process during testimony at a Feb. 23 Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on emerging technologies and national security.

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cyber threat

Speaking today during an open hearing on the hacking of U.S. networks by foreign adversaries, Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Mark Warner, D-Va., questioned why the U.S. shouldn’t have mandatory cyberattack reporting systems in light of the recent Russia-backed hack of government and private sector networks via SolarWinds software products.

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employee workforce federal worker-min

The House Government Operations Subcommittee has scheduled a hearing for Feb. 23 at 11 a.m. EST on ways to “rebuild” the Federal workforce after four years of bruising under the Trump administration, including a late 2020 bid to establish a new classification for policy-related Federal positions.

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The House Energy and Commerce Committee met Feb. 11 to begin marking up the legislative language it will report to the House Budget Committee as part of the reconciliation process. Currently, there is $7.6 billion allocated by the committee to bolster the E-Rate program, as well as funding for COVID-19 testing and data management.

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The Senate voted late Monday to confirm President Biden’s nomination of Denis McDonough as secretary to the Department of Veterans Affairs. The vote was 87-7.

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Senate hearing Congressional-min
DHS
Senate hearing Congressional-min
Lloyd Austin
DHS

The Government Accountability Office’s (GAO) annual assessment of acquisition programs at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) found 10 programs to have been in breach of either baseline cost or schedule at some point in 2020 and five were in breach as of September 2020.

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Lloyd Austin
DHS

In a Senate Homeland Security Committee hearing, Alejandro Mayorkas, President-elect Joe Biden’s nominee for Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), laid out his vision for the nation’s cybersecurity and promised to make it a priority if confirmed.

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capitol washington dc senate house congress-min

Senior House Republicans pointed today to the still-unfolding situation on Russian-backed hacking of government networks via SolarWinds software to call for passage of the Fiscal Year 2021 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) and the cybersecurity elements that the legislation features.

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Christopher Krebs under secretary undersecretary DHS Department of Homeland Security National Protection and Programs Directorate NPPD leader CISA cybersecurity and infrastructure security agency
Veterans Affairs

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced the completion of all IT initiatives for the implementation of the Forever GI Bill – also known as the Colmery Act – and the full deployment of associated software and systems, finishing the implementation of a policy initiative that initially put VA’s IT in the headlines for the wrong reasons.

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House and Senate leaders have asked the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to provide multiple briefings to members of Congress on how the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) is going about implementing President Trump’s controversial executive order to create a new “Schedule F” classification for Federal employees in policy-making positions.

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capitol washington dc senate house congress-min

The chairs of the House Judiciary and Oversight and Reform committees warned the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and its Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) against engaging in “midnight rulemakings” in the waning days of the Trump administration that don’t give Congress adequate time to review the new rules.

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CISA

Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, issued a warning to the Trump administration late Thursday to leave in place senior leadership at the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and other national security agencies “to ensure the security and continuity of government operations” for the incoming administration of President-Elect Biden.

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Washington DC capitol federal government-min
Pentagon Military Defense DoD

Count Rep. Doris Matsui, D-Calif., as a “no” vote at this point on at least one aspect of the Defense Department’s (DoD) request for information (RFI) issued last month that solicits public input on a range of issues involving the Pentagon’s plans to deploy 5G wireless services.

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Leaders of the House Energy and Commerce Committee want the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to report on how the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is handling cybersecurity during the COVID-19 pandemic, they said in an October 9 letter.

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