Congressmen want to know what agencies are doing to ensure clean water across America

In today's Federal Newscast: Two congressmen want to know what agencies are doing to ensure clean water across America. DOJ wants agencies to provide more infor...

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  • Two House Democrats are asking questions about agency efforts to ensure clean and safe drinking water across the country. Homeland Security Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) and Oversight Committee Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) said the Department of Homeland Security and the Environmental Protection Agency are crucial to overseeing water and wastewater utilities. Now, they’re asking for a Government Accountability Office review of how DHS and EPA prioritize funding for utilities that are vulnerable to service disruptions. They also want GAO to take a look at how agencies incorporate racial equity into their water and wastewater programs.
  • The Defense Department’s cyber incident management challenges are being scrutinized. DoD components are often struggling to share timely and accurate information about cyber incidents. That is the crux of a new Government Accountability Office report. DoD’s incident reports often lack crucial information, like when the cyber incident was discovered. And DoD contractors are also struggling to report cyber incidents within the mandatory 72 hours. “In order to really do effective cybersecurity, for DOD to get cyber management under control, it’s a matter of getting the right information to the right people at the right time,” GAO’s Joe Kirschbaum said. (‘Timely versus accurate’ DoD struggles shed light on cyber incident reporting challenges Federal News Network)
  • The Justice Department  is calling on all agencies to improve public access to information in different languages. DOJ said there has been significant progress since an executive order from 2000 that called for better access to information across language barriers. But DOJ is now asking agencies to review their current practices and policies around language access. Agencies will have about six months to provide the Justice Department with their updated plan for better access to information in different languages for their resources, programs and services.
  • Low pay is the most common retention challenge for federal firefighters, but it’s not the only problem. Poor work-life balance, barriers to career advancement and low diversity, also add to the difficulties in recruiting and retaining federal firefighters. The Government Accountability Office said agencies have taken some steps to fix the issue, such as offering pay and housing incentives. But the National Federation of Federal Employees said more needs to be done. The union is calling for a permanent pay raise for all federal firefighters. (It’s not just low pay causing retention issues for federal firefighters – Federal News Network)
  • A federal appeals court is the latest stop for the union for immigration judges to get re-certified. The National Association of Immigration Judges is asking the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit to overturn a 2020 decision by the Federal Labor Relations Authority to eliminate NAIJ’s status as a federal employee union. But judges say a still-pending petition before FLRA to recertify the union could potentially render the court’s ruling moot, depending on the outcome. The FLRA now has a majority of Biden administration appointees. And its chairman — once the lone dissenter in the Trump-era rulings — has repeatedly challenged the authority’s arguments underpinning its decision to decertify the union. (Federal appeals court latest stop for immigration judges union to get certified – Federal News Network)
  • The House Modernization Committee is looking to bring back a panel to set data and evidence policy in government. Committee Chairman Derek Kilmer (Wash.) and Ranking Member William Timmons (R-S.C.)  are the Members of Congress pushing a resolution that would reestablish a Commission on Evidence-based Policymaking. The commission would study the potential need for a congressional chief data officer and ways Congress could better use data for decision-making. A 2016 version of the commission-drafted-recommendations served as the basis for the Foundations for Evidence-Based Policymaking Act.

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