House intensifies its war against DoD teleworkers

Its 2025 Defense appropriations bill would prohibit DoD from using funding for any telework or remote work that is done on a 'regular and recurring basis.'

  • The House of Representatives is coming out strong against federal telework. That chamber’s version of the 2025 Defense appropriations bill would prohibit the DoD from using any of its funding for any telework or remote work that is done on a “regular and recurring basis.” The same measure would cut DoD’s payroll for civilian employees by nearly a billion dollars. The White House has objected to both provisions and several others, saying the president would veto the bill if it reaches his desk as-is.
    (DoD Appropriations bill, 2025 - House Appropriations Committee)
  • Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has selected a State Department official to be the Pentagon’s new chief of staff. Derek Chollet, who has served in various senior policy roles at the White House, the Pentagon and the State Department, will replace Kelly Magsamen, who is stepping down at the end of June. Chollet served as assistant secretary of Defense for international security affairs from 2012 to 2015. President Joe Biden nominated Chollet to be the Pentagon’s policy chief last year, but his nomination got stalled in Congress. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken is naming Tom Sullivan to become the next State Department counselor.
  • The Department of Homeland Security is hosting a career expo in Chantilly, Virginia this Thursday and Friday. Free and open-to-the-public, attendees will be able to meet with DHS hiring managers and apply for openings. Senior DHS officials will also be on-site to share more details about departmentwide career opportunities.
    (DHS Career Expo - Department of Homeland Security)
  • Federal buildings across the country are getting new tools to measure their sustainability. The General Services Administration (GSA) will invest $80 million to bring new meters, smart sensors and more tools to about 560 federal buildings across the nation. Using money from the Inflation Reduction Act, GSA said it will install about 1,000 new meters to measure electricity, water, and gas performance to find inefficiencies and fix them in building performance. At more than 70 buildings, GSA will put in smart sensors to measure indoor air and environmental quality, carbon dioxide levels and other conditions to adjust building operations based on real-time data. GSA said these investments will help accelerate the government's progress toward achieving net-zero emissions in the federal building by 2045.
  • Lawmakers are pressing the Biden administration for progress on classification reform. A group of bipartisan senators is asking for an update on efforts to use technology to support both classification and declassification. In a June 18 letter to federal CIO Clare Martorana, the lawmakers said technologies like AI could help streamline classification and improve transparency. The 2023 Sensible Classification Act requires the White House to deliver a progress report on those technology efforts by the end of this year.
  • Five senators are urging the Labor Department to change its interpretation of a policy that would make it more difficult for fraudsters to obtain unemployment insurance. Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) led a group of Republican lawmakers in a letter to Labor Department leaders seeking to give states more power to stop paying benefits when they believe fraud is likely occurring. Labor's current interpretation of the policy issued during the pandemic requires states to pause benefits to a suspected fraudulent claimant for a week. It also requires states to resume paying benefits on claims on which payment has already been made after a week-long pause, which the lawmakers said does not give states enough time to confirm eligibility.
  • The White House has rejected the House Appropriations Committee’s homeland security funding bill. In a statement Monday, the White House slammed the bill, largely due to disagreements over border and immigration spending. The Biden administration wants more money than the bill provides to hire extra asylum officers. The White House also criticized the lack of funding in the bill for DHS’ National Capital Region consolidation project. The House is slated to vote on the spending bill later this week.
  • House appropriators are pushing through a number of software and digital technology pilot programs in the 2025 defense budget, including projects focused on defensive cyber operations, space domain awareness software and improving access to accurate acquisition data. The funds are earmarked for various activities, ranging from research, development, testing and evaluation to procurement and production.
  • The six finalists for the 2024 Sammies People’s Choice Award are now entering the third and final round of voting from the public. The award is a unique one in the Partnership for Public Service’s annual awards series, in that it is based entirely on the total number of votes that each finalist receives. The second round of voting officially closed last night, which narrowed the finalists from 12 down to just six. Round three voting is open until July 12. The People’s Choice winner, as well as winners for the rest of the Sammies categories, will be announced ahead of an awards ceremony the Partnership will host in September.
    (People's Choice Award - Partnership for Public Service)

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