DoD

While Congress has made some headway in recent years to modernize the way the national legislature takes advantage of technology, maintaining a bipartisan focus on modernization goals is the necessary ingredient to making further progress, current and former Capitol Hill officials said during a November 9 Partnership for Public Service online event.

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The House of Representatives is expected to hold votes on its fiscal year (FY) 2022 reconciliation package – known as the Build Back Better Act (BBB) – as well as the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act – or the Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework (BIF) – today after the House Rules Committee finalized a rule for debate on the now $1.75 trillion “soft” infrastructure legislation late on Nov. 4.

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capitol washington dc senate house congress-min

The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee voted today to approve three Biden administration nominees to the Federal Labor Relations Authority (FLRA), an independent administrative Federal agency that administers the labor-management relations programs for more than two million non-postal Federal employees.

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Department of Transportation

President Biden signed H.R. 5763 into law on Oct. 31, extending authorization for the Department of Transportation’s Surface Transportation Programs until Dec. 3 – and effectively providing more time for Congress to consider two big pending infrastructure bills that contain billions of dollars of tech and cyber-related items.

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Sens. Catherine Cortez Masto, D-Nev., Roger Wicker, R-Miss., Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and John Thune, R-S.D., have introduced a bill to create a new council that would oversee Federal investments and policy development of next-generation communications technology including sixth-generation – or 6G – wireless tech.

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The House of Representatives on October 20 passed the bipartisan Secure Equipment Act, which would prevent equipment manufactured by Chinese state-backed firms such as Huawei, ZTE, Hytera, Hikvision, and Dahua from being further utilized and marketed in the United States.

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Emerging tech
capitol washington dc senate house congress-min

Artificial intelligence (AI) experts testified today before the House Financial Services Committee’s AI task force to help House members understand the risks associated with AI-based tools.

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On Oct. 8, President Joe Biden signed the bipartisan K-12 Cybersecurity Act of 2021 into law to provide school districts with resources to combat and protect themselves against cyberattacks.

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Bipartisan legislation was introduced in the House last week to boost U.S. supply chains and foster domestic manufacturing of “critical goods” by creating a Supply Chain Resiliency and Crisis Response Office in the Department of Commerce.

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border

Senators Maggie Hassan, D-N.H. and Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, introduced bipartisan legislation that would mandate the Department of Treasury and other Federal entities to review the use and mining of cryptocurrencies globally, and submit a detailed report on the issue to multiple congressional committees.

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Senate hearing Congressional-min
Senate hearing Congressional-min

The COVID-19 pandemic has driven home the importance of international collaboration in science to solve global problems, and witnesses at a House Space, Science, and Technology Committee hearing on October 5 emphasized the importance of balancing the benefits of open collaboration in science with the pressing need for information security in the research enterprise.

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The House on September 29 passed the K-12 Cybersecurity Act – a piece of bipartisan legislation from Sens. Gary Peters, D-Mich., and Rick Scott, R-Fla., with a companion bill in the House led by Rep. Jim Langevin, D-R.I. The bill has already been approved by the Senate, and has been sent to the White House for President Biden’s signature.

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capitol washington dc senate house congress-min
Senate hearing Congressional-min

Members of the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee at a September 29 hearing sketched out the latest chapter in a years-long debate about how to boost consumer data privacy protections – with the current options centering on a proposal from committee Chair Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., that would set up a new privacy bureau for that purpose at the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

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Budget Federal spending

Legislative crunch-time for the Biden administration’s two infrastructure funding bills began in earnest on Monday. Here are three tracks to watch that impact the legislation, which proposes billions of dollars of funding for Federal IT, cybersecurity, and broadband initiatives. 

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DoD Pentagon Military

The fiscal year (FY) 2022 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) will be brought to the House floor for continued consideration and an eventual vote this afternoon, according to Majority Speaker Steny Hoyer, D-Md. A lesser-known provision of the bill would create a new office at the Department of Defense (DoD) dedicated to studying unidentified aerial phenomena (UAP).

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Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va. – long a prime mover in Congress for improving Federal IT operations – said at MeriTalk’s State Tech Vision virtual program on September 15 that he plans to push two key pieces of legislation this year that aim to help state and local governments improve their own IT capabilities.

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Budget Federal spending

The Department of Defense (DoD) has practices in place to minimize the effects of funding that comes from a continuing resolution (CR), the Government Accountability Office (GAO) found, due to the agency starting 11 of the last 12 fiscal years under a CR.

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capitol washington dc senate house congress-min

The House Energy and Commerce Committee was still in the process late Monday of marking up its portion of the $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation bill working its way through the House, but at our deadline was making a big splash with $10 billion of proposed funding for supply chain security.

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Crumbling bridges and leaky levees. Buckling roadways. Unsafe water pipes. Inadequate public transit. The list of U.S. infrastructure failings is both broad and deep. The United States is paying only about half of its necessary infrastructure bill, and the total investment gap has grown from $2.1 trillion over 10 years, to a current figure of nearly $2.59 trillion over 10 years, according to the American Society of Civil Engineers. As a result, local government leaders face staggering infrastructure requirements that local tax revenues cannot fulfill.

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