New Evidence Shows Extent of ‘Mar-a-Lago Trio’ Involvement in AV Modernization Efforts

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  • The continuing resolution passed by the House failed in the Senate along party lines. The continued resolution would have allowed the agencies to operate until December 3. It also included a temporary suspension of the debt ceiling that Republicans do not support. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (DN.Y.) said Democrats would try to pass some sort of interim measure again this week. At least 36 agencies have updated their contingency plans for the shutdown as the 11:59 p.m. deadline approaches Thursday. (Federal Information Network)
  • Federal employees have Savings savings plan loan options in the event of a government shutdown. TSP participants on expiry of credits or considered excluded workers continuing to work without pay can apply for a loan at any time. Employees are eligible for TSP loans as long as they have no outstanding general loan balances in the past 60 days, have not had a taxable loan distribution in the past year, and have at least 1,000 $ of contributions and income in their account. The Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board has made changes to make the lending process easier for the federal government after the record-breaking 2018-19 shutdown.
  • Lawmakers want to make sure agencies repeat their lines when it comes to responding to a major cyber attack. The House Defense Authorization Bill would establish a National cyber exercise program assess the national cyber incident response plan. The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency would be responsible for conducting the exercises. The program would simulate what would happen if a cyber attack destroyed a government or a critical infrastructure network. The House passed the defense bill last week, while the full Senate has yet to take action.
  • Two Senate lawmakers are grappling with 112 new examples of fragmentation, overlap and duplication within the federal government that GAO identified in its 11th annual report earlier this year. Senators Maggie Hassan (DN.H.) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.) Presented the Act on the law on the 2021 annual duplication report make changes to eight programs that could save the government hundreds of millions of dollars. One provision in the bill would require GAO to investigate whether the Government National Mortgage Association relies too heavily on contract labor. Another provision would require the Treasury Department to examine potential changes in the metal composition of coins to identify potential cost savings.
  • The military sees the deadly trend of COVID-19 continuing in its troops. In just two months, the Department of Defense has doubled the number of military deaths linked to the coronavirus. The number now stands at 52. Not all of those who have died from the disease have been fully immunized. The Pentagon now demands that all military personnel get vaccinated. Members of the air and space forces must complete their vaccinations by November and army soldiers have until mid-December.
  • Troops living in 56 regions across the country may be able to secure more government funds. The Pentagon says that because house prices are rising so rapidly this year, it is giving some troops a temporary increase in the basic housing allowance. BAH is a monthly allowance to help the military pay for housing costs. However, the Defense Ministry felt its 2021 grant was not competitive enough for rents and mortgages in some areas. The temporary increase will last from October until the end of the year. Areas with the largest increases include Twenty Nine Palms in California; Boise, Idaho and towns in the southwest. Troops will receive an email if they are eligible for the raise. (Federal Information Network)
  • The Department of Veterans Affairs makes changes to the eligibility rules for benefits for those released under dishonorable status. Most veterans in dishonorable discharges currently cannot receive VA benefits. More veterans would be eligible for benefits under amended regulations that would change the character of the VA release determination process. VA issued a request for information soliciting comments to help shape the proposed changes. VA will be hosting two virtual listening sessions next week to gain additional information and comments on the proposed rule are expected by October 12.
  • House Democrats have new documents that show how three associates of former President Trump have developed their own agenda to transform the Department of Veterans Affairs. The group was known to the Mar-a-Lago trio. Documents show that the trio saw themselves as an advisory committee to the president. They have held meetings on behalf of the government with Apple, Johnson and Johnson, and CVS Health. The group pushed an Apple platform to monetize veterans’ medical records and a CVS Minute Clinics proposal to provide veterans with health services.
  • The Department of Homeland Security distributes money to innovators with brilliant ideas on tackling climate change. The DHS Science and Technology Directorate and the Federal Emergency Management Agency are accepting proposals until December 7 for the “Cooling Solutions Challenge”. They want ideas on how to better protect people from heat-related illness or death during extreme heat episodes or other disasters. The challenge is the first in a new series of competitions aimed at building national resilience to climate change.
  • The Department of Homeland Security wins a protest against its FirstSource III solicitation, but it’s not out of the woods yet. The Government Accountability Office ruled in favor of DHS in one of many protests against its $ 10 billion small business computer hardware contract called FirstSource III. KPaul ​​Properties filed a complaint regarding the tender’s requirement to have ISO-9001 and / or ISO certification for open standards from trusted technology providers, calling it unduly restrictive. GAO denied the protest, saying the industry not only had enough time to comment, but the requirement was not restrictive. GAO indicates that of the 637 proposals from 325 offerors received by DHS, only five suppliers did not provide at least one of the certifications. DHS still faces two more protests filed in early August.
  • The Justice Department’s Inspector General’s office is hiring a diversity officer, as part of the Biden administration’s focus on equity and inclusion in government. The Diversity Manager will lead the IG office’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee and train OIG staff to identify and avoid bias in the workplace. The new hire should also assess the workforce data and report any potential barriers to diversity. DOJ OIG will accept applications until the end of September.
  • The State Department is looking to retrain its workforce as part of its new data strategy. The state is updating job descriptions to include expected data skills and will create a new round of data science positions as part of its corporate data strategy. The strategy highlights data as the foundation for the department’s increased focus on AI, 5G and cybersecurity as part of its diplomatic mission. The department’s Enterprise Data Council will implement the strategy and report to the Under Secretary of State for Management and Resources. (Federal Information Network)
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