House tech committee members want to look into White House cybersecurity issues

The Federal Headlines is a daily compilation of the stories you hear discussed on Federal Drive with Tom Temin.

In today’s Top Federal Headlines, three Democratic members of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee want an investigation into reports the White House may be ignoring cybersecurity protocols.

  • Three Democratic members of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee demand an investigation into cybersecurity issues at the Trump White House. Reps. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Texas), Dan Lipinski (D-Ill.), and Don Beyer (D-Va.) fear Republican interest in cybersecurity problems has waned since the election ended, and want to make sure oversight continues. (Rep. Don Beyer)
  • Another lawmaker has a new proposal to change disciplinary procedures for federal employees. Rep. Barry Loudermilk (R-Ga.) has introduced the Modern Employment Reform, Improvement and Transformation (MERIT) Act. The bill would the shorten the time that employees could appeal a disciplinary action, and give the Merit Systems Protection Board 30 days to render a decision. The punishment is final if MSPB can’t issue a decision by the deadline. (Federal News Radio)
  • Civilians working for the Air Force get a new educational opportunity. The branch is creating a new leadership development course specifically for GS-12 and GS-13 civilians. The Air Force is using an additional $1 million in funding specifically for civilian developmental education opportunities. The first class starts May of this year. (DCMilitary.com)
  • The Army is planning to spend several hundred million dollars to boost its force in the upcoming year, even though Congress hasn’t yet appropriated the money to accomplish the task. The general in charge of Army recruiting command said he’s already committed $300 million to beef up the force in the coming year, telling USA Today that some of the incentives will include a doubling of recruiting bonuses. The situation is a case study in the difference between congressional authorizations and actual appropriations. In the 2017 authorization bill, Congress ordered the Army to halt its previously-planned drawdown to 450,000 active duty soldiers, but hasn’t yet passed a budget for 2017. As recently as last week, the service’s vice chief of staff said the Army has no way to pay the personnel costs of those additional 6,000 soldiers, so long as the government continues to operate under a continuing resolution. (USA TODAY)
  • A group of federal procurement experts believe the time is now with a new administration in place to fix the acquisition process. The Procurement Roundtable, which includes former Office of Federal Procurement Policy and Defense Department executives, is offering the Trump administration three areas that need attention immediately: workforce training, reducing the burden on both agencies and contractors alike and stopping the gotcha approach to oversight. The groups also suggest the White House focus on innovation and cross-agency collaboration as a way to improve mission delivery. (Federal News Radio)
  • President Donald Trump will have to keep looking for a new Army secretary. Politico is reporting Van Hipp, chairman of the defense lobbying firm American Defense International, is withdrawing himself from consideration, saying the timing would just not have been right. Hipp was getting a second look after Trump’s first choice Vince Viola declined as well. (POLITICO)
  • The White House has established an order of succession for leadership of the Justice Department. The latest executive order names who would act as attorney general, if the AG, the deputy or associate, cannot. It revoked a similar order from the last days of the Obama administration. First in line would be the US attorney for the eastern district of Virginia, followed by the northern district of Illinois, then the western district of Missouri. (White House)
  • Daniel Tarullo, chairman of the Federal Reserve Board’s Committee on Supervision and Regulation, is stepping down even though his term had another five years. Tarullo was appointed by President Barack Obama in 2009 mainly to carry out the new rules of the Dodd-Frank Act. This means President Trump will now have to fill three spots on the Fed’s Board of Governors. (Federal Reserve)
  • The Metro and other transit systems in Maryland, Virginia, and D.C. loses 5 percent of federal funding, or $8.9 million, from the Federal Transit Administration. The agency said it will only release the funds if the Metro Safety Commission is set up and certified which will require congressional approval. This is carrying out a threat made by previous Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. (WTOP)