Lawmakers have questions for Energy Secretary about stocks she sold

In today's Federal Newscast, House Republicans are pressing Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm on how she is abiding by the STOCK Act.

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  • The Defense Department is feeling the squeeze with supply chain and industrial base issues. A new report says extreme consolidation of defense companies is a risk to national security. The Pentagon relies heavily on just five companies to do a large portion of its work. That’s down from 51 in the 1990s. A new report on the defense industrial base says the Defense Department needs to take action in diversifying that base. The report suggests DoD change some of its intellectual property rules to draw in new companies. The study also recommends increasing opportunities for small business and implementing supply chain resilience plans. (Federal News Network)
  • GSA is forced to delay the transition to the new telecommunications contract. Agencies who have fallen behind in transitioning to the Enterprise Infrastructure Solutions (EIS) contract are no longer in danger of having their current telecommunications services turned off. Federal News Network has learned the General Services Administration has extended the continuity of services contracts for Networx, WITS 3 and local services through May 2024. This gives agencies an extra year to complete their transition to EIS. GSA told agency leaders extending the continuity of services contracts will allow agencies and vendors time to sunset services on the expired contracts. (Federal News Network)
  • House Republicans are pressing Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm on how she is abiding by the STOCK Act. In a letter to the secretary, House Oversight and Reform Committee ranking member James Comer and other Republicans raise concerns about her transparency about stocks she owned and subsequently sold. The STOCK Act requires political appointees and others to report stock trades within 45 days of the transactions. The lawmakers say Granholm failed to meet the requirements of the law in April and now wants all documents related to the selling of her stock of Proterra, an electric vehicle company.
  • The federal workforce is dealing with a gender and racial pay gap among its older employees. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission finds men in the federal workforce age 40 or older earned more than 8% on average than the same demographic for women. That’s a greater gender pay gap than what the Government Accountability Office recently found across the total federal workforce. All these findings are based on data from fiscal 2017, the most recent year that the Office of Personnel Management had data available. The report also finds white and Asian federal employees on average, earned more than other groups in the federal sector, and that this trend persisted among federal employees with college degrees. (Federal News Network)
  • A union representing federal firefighters is calling on the Labor Department to create a special unit that would fast-track workers’ compensation claims. The National Federation of Federal Employees says a special claims unit within the agency would help federal wildland firefighters receive compensation and healthcare for injuries sustained on the job. The union says more frequent and intense wildfires have led to an increase in work injuries among federal firefighters. Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-Calif.) is also leading five other senators in asking the Labor Department to set up this special claims unit.
  • The Department of Homeland Security is eyeing some new technology under its latest long-range research plan. The DHS Science and Technology Directorate wants ideas for how to use the Internet of Things to boost community and infrastructure resilience. That’s one new research topic in this year’s long-range broad agency announcement. DHS is inviting the scientific community to submit proposals ranging from new mobile security techniques to ways of countering unmanned aerial systems. Some other new focus areas this year include threat mitigation for commercial aircraft, and new ways of detecting explosives hidden in luggage.
  • Ransomware became a household term in 2021. A new joint cyber advisory offers some lessons on how to reduce the risk of your data being held hostage. The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency says keeping your software up-to-date is a good start. CISA also recommends training users on how to recognize suspicious emails. Organizations should also use secure remote desktop protocols, and back-up their data offline. CISA issued the advisory alongside the FBI and the NSA, as well as partners from Australia and the United Kingdom.
  • Eric Evans is tapped as the new leader of the Defense Science Board. Evans is currently the director of the Lincoln Laboratory at MIT. He’s spent much of his career working on technologies related to radar. As chair of the science board he will lead a group of defense and business experts in giving independent advice to the Pentagon’s top scientist.

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