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July 5, 2015

Posts in "CAO"

June 17, 2015

Demands for Resignations, More Answers Follow OPM Breach (Video)

Meadows called for Archuleta's resignation. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Meadows called for Archuleta’s resignation. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Lawmakers continue to look for answers about the recent Office of Personnel Management data breaches affecting millions of federal workers, with some House members calling for the director’s resignation.

“It is outrageous that after the biggest data breach in our nation’s history, OPM has yet to fire a single individual,” Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., said in a statement Wednesday. “It is time that Director [Katherine] Archuleta step down and be replaced with someone prepared to immediately address cybersecurity vulnerabilities at the agency.”

Meadows chairs the Government Operations Oversight Subcommittee. House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, also reportedly told the press after Tuesday’s hearing on the breach that he believed Archuleta should resign.

Full story

June 16, 2015

OPM Breach Includes Congressional Staffers (Video)

Connolly, left, said one of his staffers was affected by the breach. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Connolly, left, said one of his staffers was affected by the OPM breach. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

As government officials answered questions about the recent Office of Personnel Management data breach, former and current congressional staffers processed the notices they are receiving from the agency that they, too, were affected by the breach.

Rep. Gerald E. Connolly, D-Va., told CQ Roll Call Tuesday that his press secretary, George Burke, who has never worked for the executive branch, received a notice from the OPM saying his personal identifiable information may have been compromised. Connolly said he spoke with someone in the office of the House Chief Administrative Officer, and it appeared that congressional staffers who had a break in their service, activating their retirement status, were affected by the breach. Full story

June 10, 2015

Report: Congressional Websites Not Ready for Secure Connection

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Go to any congressional website and you’re sure to find a form for constituents to contact their lawmakers. But a recent analysis found most congressional websites are not equipped to protect that data as it is transmitted.

The Sunlight Foundation, a group that advocates for government transparency, recently published an analysis of congressional websites that revealed only 15 percent of sites are ready to implement a secure browsing connection, known as Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure. This code is visible at the beginning of a Web address and usually appears with a padlock next to it. Full story

June 9, 2015

Sodexo Named New House Food Service Vendor

(CQ Roll Call File Photo)

(CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Things will be changing soon in House cafeterias.

Ed Cassidy, the House chief administrative officer, announced Wednesday that food service conglomerate Sodexo will be taking over as the food service vendor for all 10 dining areas in the House and House office buildings beginning on Aug. 10. Full story

June 5, 2015

Most Legislative Workers Likely Not Affected by OPM Hack

Cassidy (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Cassidy sent a notice about the OPM breach to House staff. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

According to House and Senate administrators, congressional staffers have likely not been affected by the Office of Personel Management data breach affecting millions of federal government workers, unless a congressional staffer once worked for the executive branch.

“Unless you were employed previously in the executive branch of the federal government there is no indication at this time that your personally identifiable information (PII) was compromised,” Chief Administrative Officer for the House Ed Cassidy wrote in a notice sent to House staff Friday afternoon. Full story

April 27, 2015

Senators Call for Higher Wages for Senate Workers

Elections 2016

Sanders speaks during a rally with striking federal workers on the East Front of the Capitol. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A group of senators are pushing for Senate contract workers to be paid a “living wage” following reports of workers barely getting by.

“The U.S. Congress should be working to improve the economic security of middle class families across the country.  We should start right here in the U.S. Senate,” nine senators wrote in a letter sent Monday to the Senate Rules and Administration Committee. Full story

March 20, 2015

What Will Happen to Schock’s ‘Downton Abbey’ Office?

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

What’s next for the Schock office? (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

When Rep. Aaron Schock leaves Congress on March 31, his “Downton Abbey” office will remain, though the days of the pheasant feathers and paintings could also be numbered.

Whoever wins the special election for Schock’s seat in Illinois’ 18th District will inherit the Republican’s Rayburn office, but the Architect of the Capitol could repaint the bright red walls depending on the new member’s request.

Full story

December 10, 2014

GPO Name Change, Dome Restoration in Legislative Branch Funding

Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D.,  discusses the dome restoration project. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Hoeven discusses the Dome restoration project. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Legislative branch spending in the year-end spending bill includes a slight increase from fiscal 2014, allocating $4.3 billion to agencies and instituting a number of policy changes, including changing the name of the Government Printing Office and developing online sexual harassment training for staffers.

Under the bill, the GPO would be re-named the Government Publishing Office “to acknowledge that the information needs of Congress, Federal agencies, and the public have evolved beyond print.” GPO spokesman Gary Somerset said Wednesday the office is pleased with the change and hopes Congress will pass the bill. Full story

November 12, 2014

Pack Up Your Troubles: Members Begin Moving Out

Aides to retiring Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., Rebekah Eskandani, left, Danny Weiss, right, Aimee Wall, and David Uhlich from the Bancroft Library at UC Berkeley, check out posters while packing up Miller's office. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Eskandani, left, Weiss, right, Aimee Wall and David Uhlich from the Bancroft Library at the University of California Berkeley, check out posters while packing up Miller’s office. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

What does one do with 24 golden bulldogs?

“I’m trying to find homes for these things,” said Ed McDonald, chief of staff for retiring Rep. Howard Coble, describing the fiscal conservative awards the North Carolina Republican has acquired over the years. McDonald is packing up 30 years worth of memorabilia and documents before a different lawmaker moves into the Rayburn office.

While members of Congress who lost on Election Day are faced with the unpleasant task of packing up their belongings and moving out, other staffers who work for retiring members, and members who lost their primaries, have been packing up their offices for months. Full story

October 14, 2014

‘Special Treatment’ for Congress Inspires Another Obamacare Lawsuit

DC Health Link enrollment under attack. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

DC Health Link enrollment is under attack. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

This time it’s not a lawmaker, but an outside conservative group that plans to file suit over alleged “special treatment” for members of Congress enrolled in gold-level coverage plans through DC Health Link.

Judicial Watch, the group that continues to dog the Department of Health and Human Services for more transparency about implementation of the 2010 health care law, will share details Wednesday of a “taxpayer lawsuit challenging the District of Columbia’s special treatment of Congress concerning Obamacare.”

The announcement is planned at an event at the National Press Club, where plaintiff Kirby Vining and Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton plan to join attorneys. Details are sparse. Congress accounts for more than a quarter of the 50,520 people enrolled in the D.C. health exchange, and the subsidy members and staff receive to cover premiums has been taking heat from all sides.

DC Health Link offered private sessions to staffers in advance of the Dec. 9 open enrollment deadline, plus on-site help sessions at the Capitol with employees from Aetna and Blue Cross Blue Shield. Several staffers who worked in district offices in other parts of the country complained about the enrollment process, and those working in Washington offices experienced technical glitches.

This is not the first suit Judicial Watch has filed related to the exchanges. In March, they filed two lawsuits against HHS to obtain records, one of which related to security and privacy concerns surrounding the Healthcare.gov web portal.

On August 8, they filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit seeking emails and documents involving communications to and from former HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Marilyn Tavenner. Judicial Watch wants to know what was said about enrollment figures, performance and security testing of the site, decisions about when to make certain information publicly available, plus other FOIA requests.

Jill Sutherland Farrell, director of Judicial Watch, declined to provide further information on the plaintiff or the nature of the lawsuit in a phone call with CQ Roll Call.

The liberal watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington has criticized the special support sessions at the Capitol and help hotlines offered to members and staff. They challenged that insurance companies provided perks in violation of congressional ethics rules.

Members of both parties on Capitol Hill have targeted the employer contributions members of Congress receive for coverage in the D.C. health care exchange. Democratic Reps. Dan Maffei of New York, John Barrow of Georgia and Ron Barber of Arizona, want to eliminate government contributions towards their premiums through the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program. Louisiana GOP Sen. David Vitter has also continued to offer his amendment targeting contributions for staffers.

RELATED STORIES:

Democrats Target Health Care Used by Congress

Health Insurance for Congress and Staff: It’s Complicated

Capitol Hill Feels Pains of Obamacare Sign-Up Troubles

Vitter Amendment Won’t Go Away Quietly

As Open Enrollment Deadline Approaches, Insurers Scramble to Give Staffers Support

Roll Call Election Map: Race Ratings for Every Seat

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