USPS has only made $35 in revenue from banking pilot

In today's Federal Newscast, a Postal Service banking pilot isn’t drawing many customers.

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  • Agencies are on the clock to address a baker’s dozen worth of cyber vulnerabilities. The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency added 13 flaws to its known exploited vulnerability catalog this week. Nine are newer vulnerabilities that require action by Feb. 1. The other four are older security flaws, and agencies have until mid-July to patch them. There are now more than 300 vulnerabilities on CISA’s catalog. It was established in November via a binding operational directive that requires agencies to address the listed exploits. (Federal News Network)
  • An auditor gives the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s cybersecurity program a thumbs down. An independent auditor says the Consumer Product Safety Commission did not meet federal cybersecurity requirements last year. But the commission says limited resources went toward addressing what it called an “unprecedented” number of Emergency Directives, Binding Operational Directives and critical security advisories from the Department of Homeland Security last year. Still, the consumer watchdog agency said it would take up the audit’s recommendations to identify and address cyber gaps.
  • A new bill in Congress would require agencies to take natural disasters into account when managing federal properties. Senators Gary Peters (D-Mich.) and Rick Scott (R-Flor.) introduced the Disaster Resiliency Planning Act, which would require the Office of Management and Budget to provide agencies with guidance on how to include disaster resilience into their asset management and investments. The bill comes after a recent report from the Government Accountability Office revealed that many agencies have not sufficiently prepared for the effects of extreme weather.
  • Federal employees who want to improve their climate chops have a new way to do so. The White House Office of the Chief Sustainability Officer launches a series of four interactive webinars for feds. They’ll feature speakers the White House describes as dynamic and thought-provoking. The first one takes place today with Dr. Katharine Hayhoe, a climate scientist with an endowed political science chair at Texas Tech and perch at the Nature Conservancy. Feds need to register because space is limited.
  • The Space Force will soon have a new director to communicate the agency’s procurement needs. Col. Eric Felt, who’s currently the director of the Air Force Research Lab’s Space Vehicles Directorate, is set to become the deputy executive director for the Space Architecture, Science and Technology Directorate. Felt will work with the service’s field units and support the development of space architecture to help Congress understand the Space Force’s acquisition needs. He’s slated to start the new position in July.
  • GSA had another record busting year under its technology contracts. Agencies spent more than $32 billion through the technology contracts run by the General Services Administration. GSA says by using the schedules program and other multiple award contracts, agencies avoided spending more than $2.3 billion, which was 7.7% higher than their cost avoidance in 2020. The spending through the IT contracts at GSA accounted for 35% of all technology spending across government last year. Overall, GSA says they brought on 315 new small and disadvantaged vendors across its 23 schedules last year and now 52% of the 4,700 schedule holders are small businesses.
  • A former official at the Defense Department Inspector General Office is sentenced to seven-and-a-half years in prison for accepting bribes and defrauding the government. The Justice Department says Matthew LumHo steered an IT contract in the National Capital Region to a company that bribed him and authorized false and fraudulent service orders. LumHo was also found guilty of obstructing justice by committing perjury during the trial.
  • In-person hearings are coming back at the Social Security Administration. SSA and the Association of Administrative Law Judges reached an agreement to resume in-person disability hearings as well as continue to hold virtual and phone hearings in 2022. Law judges over the past two years have held hundreds of thousands of hearings over the phone or via video since as in-person services at hearing offices and Social Security field offices have largely been suspended due to the risk of spreading COVID. Over the last almost two years, AALJ says the number of pending hearings dropped to 352,000 from more than 575,000 at the start of fiscal 2020.
  • The Department of Veterans Affairs is launching an automation pilot to process disability claims faster. VA is processing its backlog of disability claims faster than ever before, but is looking to accelerate this pace through an automation pilot it launched last month. The pilot is currently focused on claims related to service-related hypertension, and is processing claims in as little as one-to-two days. That’s compared to the traditional method of processing these claims, which is currently taking well over 100 days. VA Secretary Denis McDonough automation will help the VA drive down a backlog of more than 260,000 claims. (Federal News Network)
  • A Postal Service banking pilot isn’t drawing many customers. USPS tells the Postal Regulatory Commission only six customers have taken advantage of the check-cashing pilot it launched last September. For a flat fee of $5.95, customers can cash a business or payroll check as a gift card worth up to $500. USPS is testing the pilot at four post office locations, and has only made just over $35 in revenue.
  • Rhode Island Representative Jim Langevin (D-R.I.) says he will not seek reelection after this term. Langevin is joining more than 40 other lawmakers who are ending their stints in Congress after this cycle. Langevin made the announcement on a video posted to YouTube. “After serving the people of Rhode Island for over 36 years include 11 terms and 22 years in Congress, today I’m announcing I will not be a candidate for Congress this November.” Langevin is notorious for championing cyber issues. He currently heads the House Armed Services Cyber, Innovative Technologies and IT Subcommittee. Langevin says he has no definite plans for after his term at this point.

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