House, Senate Dems want to allow Postal Service to do more banking activities
- Democrats in parliament and the Senate are pushing the rest of Congress to allow the postal service to enter the banking business. Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortes (DN.Y.), Marcy Captur (D-Ohio) and Bill Pascrell (DN.J.). join Sensor Kirsten Gillibrand (DN.Y.) and Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.) in requesting a language of authorization to include it in the fiscal expense account for 2022. Lawmakers said banking services would help the postal service to generate $ 9 billion in annual revenue. The USPS already provides limited financial services, including remittances, but will need legislation to take on more reliable services.
- The Department of Veterans Affairs said old hospitals needed attention. President Biden’s infrastructure plan includes $ 18 billion to repair and replace VA’s crumbling medical centers. The department admitted that this is a lot of money. But it is still not enough to turn to all the facilities on the VA list that need major improvements. The VA said it would need between $ 50 billion and $ 60 billion to handle all of its capital improvement projects. The Biden administration said funding under the infrastructure plan was enough to completely replace 10 or 15 facilities. (Federal News Network)
- Secretary of Agriculture Tom Wilsac said the department would fill vacancies at its two research offices in both Washington and Kansas City. The Office of Economic Research and the National Food and Agriculture Institute moved officials from Washington to Kansas City almost two years ago. The relocation created widespread vacancies in ERS and NIFA. Wilsac said the USDA still has about 100 vacancies at each bureau. But he said hiring from both positions should attract more talent and create a more diverse and inclusive workforce.
- Military exchange stores will have more authorized customers next month. The Department of Defense loosens some of the restrictions it has on military stock exchanges. DoD civilians and Coast Guard civilians will now be able to shop in sales tax-exempt establishments. Retired civilians of the Ministry of Defense can now shop in online stores and are entitled to travel discounts and hotels. The change makes exchanges accessible to nearly 600,000 more customers. Late last year, the Pentagon made online shopping available to all honorably released veterans.
- A a bipartisan group of legislators introduce legislation that will clear the discrepancies in military uniform expenditures between men and women. A recent report by the government’s reporting service found that women spend more than double their pockets than men on non-reimbursable clothing costs. The bill will pay women part of their non-compliance costs. This will also require military services to draw up a plan to reduce the gap.
- A former army leader in science and technology is set to become the first black supervisor at the Military Institute in Virginia. Major General Cedric Vince is retiring as Commander of the Army Combat Capabilities Development Command in 2019. Yesterday, he won a unanimous vote on the VMI board to run the school. He has served as interim head since last year, when the former head of the school resigned amid allegations of a hostile racial climate. Vince won his Army Committee from the VMI, where he graduated in 1985 (Federal News Network)
- The State Department is one step closer to setting up a new bureau to establish international cybersecurity standards. The cyberdiplomation law will vote on the floor of the House next week, according to two of its co-sponsors. The bill will establish a Bureau of International Cyberspace Policy at the State Department, headed by an ambassador of the same rank and status as Assistant Secretary of State. Representative Jim Langevin (DR.I.), one of the bill’s sponsors, said the bill would give the department the tools it needs to more quickly identify, attribute and respond to cyber incidents. (Federal News Network)
- Federal cloud service providers that suffer from actual or potential cyber incidents must report these issues within one hour to their agency customers and DHS’s US-CERT. Updated guidelines from FedRAMP cloud security program outlines these requirements, as well as several other changes. This is the first revision of FedRAMP incident communication procedures in almost three years. In addition, FedRAMP also requires cloud service providers to fulfill all the mandates outlined by CISA in its recent emergency cyber services directives. FedRAMP stated that its purpose is to ensure that any incident handling is transparent and that all stakeholders are aware of the current situation and remedial efforts.
- NARA signs a new deal to modernize its computer networks. The National Archives and Archives Administration is receiving a network conversion. Under a $ 65 million contract with MetTel through the Enterprise Infrastructure Solutions program, NARA will move its legacy hub-and-talk architecture into a fully integrated SD-WAN infrastructure. The software-defined approach is expected to improve network performance, ease administrative burdens, reduce operating costs and improve cybersecurity. NARA will also deploy managed network services, including the Managed Trusted Internet Protocol Service or MTIPS on a mission basis. The agencies have until September 2022 to move all telecommunications to the EIS contract.