Hundreds of employees have left the EPA

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  • A significant chunk of workers have left the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as part of President Trump’s promise to eliminate the agency.  The Wall Street Journal reported the buyouts offered to more than 1,200 EPA employees has resulted in 400 people leaving their positions. That represents a 2.5% cut in a staff of more than 14,000.  Reports indicated several more could be leaving by the end of the month as well. (Wall Street Journal)
  • Sixty percent of the recommendations by the Government Accountability Office (GAO)  to the EPA were implemented in the past decade. GAO made 318 recommendations between fiscal 2007 and 2017,  but 127 of them remain unimplemented. The recommendations ranged from water issues, to toxic cleanup, to pesticides. (Government Accountability Office)
  • The Defense Department (Dod) will have to deal with a continuing resolution (CR) until December according to Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-TX), Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee. But that doesn’t mean DoD won’t get more money. Congress may try to build in anomalies to the CR to increase funding for missile defense and military personnel. (Federal News Radio)
  • Serious gaps in training may have played a role in two recent collisions involving Navy ships in the western Pacific. Testimony scheduled for delivery before Congress by the Government Accountability Office on Thursday showed more than a third of the warfare training certifications for destroyers and cruisers the Navy’s 7th Fleet were expired as of June. The written testimony, which was first obtained by CNN, also indicated that out of those, a third had been expired for more than five months. Along with GAO, senior Navy officials were to testify  about the collisions involving the U.S.S. John S. McCain and U.S.S. Fitzgerald. (CNN)
  • The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) said it has increased the speed with which it processes claims from policy holders in Louisiana under the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).  FEMA said it has directed all NFIP  partners to provide advance payments on flood claims, even before visits by an adjuster, and to increase the advance payment allowable for policyholders who provide photographs or video depicting flood damage.  (Federal Emergency Management Agency)
  • House lawmakers chosen their winners and losers for IT modernization. The Office is Personnel Management (OPM) and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)are in. The governmentwide IT Modernization Fund is out. House lawmakers decided to fund only some of the requests from President Donald Trump for additional money to help agencies get off legacy systems. In the fiscal 2018 omnibus appropriations bill introduced in the House earlier this week, OPM would get $18 million of the $37 million it requested. Lawmakers would fund HUD’s IT upgrades at $100 million less than requested. And the $228 million IT Modernization Fund is left out entirely. (White House)
  • The Transportation Department would get a big new task under a bill just passed in the House. The Self-Drive act would establish national standards for highly automated vehicles, to supercede a patchwork of regulations from the states. It also instructed the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to come up with uniform language for car-makers and dealers to describe to car owners exactly what their high automated vehicles can and cannot do. It also mandated cybersecurity for self-driving cars. (Congress.gov)
  • Concerns about the mobile apps federal employees use could soon go by the wayside. The Homeland Security Department’s Science and Technology Directorate has awarded $8.6 million  to five teams for research and develop approaches to secure apps for smartphones and tablets no matter where the software is developed. The awards are part of DHS S&T’s mobile application security project. (Department of Homeland Security)

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