Browsing: Congress

Senator pushes for cybersecurity via executive order

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A top Democratic senator is calling on the president to use executive branch authorities to better secure critical systems against cyber attacks. In a letter to President Obama on Monday, Sen. John Rockefellar, (D-W.Va.), urged the president to “explore and employ every lever of executive power that you possess to protect this country from the cyber threat.” Rockefeller co-sponsored the Cybersecurity Act, S. 3414, which failed passage in the Senate this month.  The bill would have set voluntary standards for companies operating critical infrastructure, such as the electric grid, water treatment facilities and transportation systems. Rockefeller said that many portions of the bill…

Lieberman revises cybersecurity bill

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Sen. Joseph Lieberman, I-Conn., has revised his cybersecurity bill “to try carrots instead of sticks as we begin to improve our cyber defenses,” he said. The bill has the endorsement of President Obama, who, in an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal Thursday, urged the Senate to pass the bill so he could sign it into law.  Under the bill, owners of critical infrastructure — such as dams, energy and water systems — would voluntarily show they meet certain cybersecurity practices through a third-party verification or certification. By volunteering, they would be eligible for benefits, such as liability protections in the…

Update: House subcommittee passes veterans data breach notification bill

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A House subcommittee on Wednesday passed a bill to ensure vets are quickly notified when their personal information is breached. The Veterans Data Breach Timely Notification Act, , H.R. 3730, requires the Veterans Affairs Department to notify Congress and vets within 10 business days of their personal information being breached. VA could request a five-day extension if more time is needed to identify affected individuals or mitigate a breach. VA contractors that handle vets’ personal information would be held to the same standards under the bill. “In the unfortunate event of a breach of sensitive information, veterans and their families should be notified…

Senators, DHS host briefing to promote cyber bill

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Sen. Joseph Lieberman, I-Conn., is confident the Senate will consider his controversial cybersecurity bill within the next month. Whether he has garnered enough support among divided lawmakers is another issue. “I’m as confident as I can be that this will come up no later than July,” Lieberman told reporters at one of two cyber briefings by the Department of Homeland Security on Wednesday. Lieberman echoed intentions by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., to bring cyber legislation to the Senate floor as soon as possible. The House passed the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA), HR 3523, in April,…

Library of Congress to preserve Prince, Bo Diddley, 'Rapper's Delight'

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The Library of Congress said today it will preserve everything from a tinny 1888 recording of “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” to Prince’s incendiary album “Purple Rain” as part of its latest slate of entries to the National Recording Registry. The Library each year preserves 25 recordings it feels are “cultural, artistic and/or historical treasures for generations to come.” This year, a wide variety of recordings will be added, including: Bo Diddley’s songs “Bo Diddley” and “I’m A Man,” Sugarhill Gang’s “Rapper’s Delight,” recognized as the first hit rap song, Booker T and the MG’s “Green Onions,” Vince Guaraldi’s jazzy soundtrack…

House bill would provide $749 million for DHS cybersecurity

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Cybersecurity funding at the Department of Homeland Security would increase 63 percent from $459 million to $749 million under a proposed 2013 spending bill by the House Appropriations Committee. The increase would fund new initiatives to improve federal network security and defend against foreign espionage, according to a committee press release. The House Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee will mark up the bill on Wednesday. Cyber funding would be $20 million below the president’s $769 million request. Both the administration and some members of the Senate are backing legislation that would give DHS new authorities to regulate cybersecurity. The 2012 Cybersecurity Act, S 2105,…

House Republicans' cyber bill promotes information sharing

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Two Republican congresswomen introduced a cybersecurity bill this week that promotes information sharing and aligns closely with legislation sponsored by Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. Reps. Mary Bono Mack, R-Calif., and Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., introduced the 2012 Strengthening and Enhancing Cybersecurity by Using Research, Education, Information, and Technology Act (SECURE IT), H.R. 4263, on Tuesday. The bill would provide “explicit authorization for the private sector to defend its own networks and voluntarily share cyber threat information within the private sector and with the government – without the legal barriers that currently exists,” acorrding to a news release. Other measures include: – Stiffer…

Senator MacCaskill's grandsons ham it up for the camera.

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Spring Break fever was in the air today on Capitol Hill. Legislators have officially fled Washington D.C. and there will be no hearings until April 16th. But before the final votes ensued, the Senate subcommittee on contracting oversight held a hearing where Senators McCaskill, Portman and Tester grilled witnesses from the Army, The Office of Personnel and Management and The Department of Homeland Security over contractor spending. Meanwhile, Chairwoman McCaskill’s grandsons were in attendance. My guess is they are on their own Spring Break. They sat graciously through the hearing; only occasionally trying sneak into my shot. I’m sure they…

OMB asks Congress to cut contractor compensation … again

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The Office of Management and Budget wants Congress to reconsider a proposal to reduce how much contractors can charge the government for their executives’ compensation, an amount that is currently “unjustified and unnecessary,” the federal procurement chief said in a blog post this morning. Under federal cost reimbursement contracts, agencies pay contractors for incurred costs, including salaries for executives and other employees. These costs usually show up in the overhead rates that contractors set. OMB caps how much contractors can charge the government for executive compensation based on what top private sector executives earn. Contractors can currently ask the government to reimburse up to $693,951 for each of its top…

NDAA to extend contractor comp caps at current level

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A cap on how much contractors can charge the government for their top execs would be extended to all defense contract employees as part of the agreement reached by House and Senate leaders for the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act. Currently, contractors can seek reimbursement for the compensation — wages, salary, bonuses and deferred compensation — of each of the company’s top five executives. Legislation now proposed for the 2012 NDAA would extend that cap, which is now at $693,951, to all employees that work on a contract or are included in the overhead costs of a contract. The Defense Department could…

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