Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
September 2, 2015

Posts in "CAO"

August 11, 2015

Sodexo Takes Over the House

(CQ Roll Call File Photo).

(CQ Roll Call File Photo)

In one House cafeteria, closed doors and cardboard boxes. In another, red, white and blue balloons.

Sodexo, an international food vendor, officially took over the House dining services Monday, causing a number of areas to close for construction while posting new signs and decorations in the cafeterias that remained open. Full story

July 30, 2015

Congressional Couches Test Positive for Toxic Retardant

Pallone said he was not surprised some couches tested positive. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Pallone said he was not surprised some congressional couches tested positive for toxic flame-retardant chemicals. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

As Congress considers an overhaul of toxic chemical regulations, a new analysis has brought the issue close to home — perhaps a little too close for comfort.

The Environmental Defense Fund recently analyzed six couches from each of the congressional office buildings and found three contained a toxic flame-retardant chemical known as TDCPP. The chemical can be found on the California Environmental Protection Agency’s list of carcinogens. Full story

July 21, 2015

House Phone System Malfunctions During Maintenance

Phones in the House went down Tuesday morning. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Phones in the House went down Tuesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The phone system in the House went down for roughly one hour Tuesday morning, causing some lawmakers to direct phone calls to their district offices.

Engineers for the chief administrative officer sent a message at 10:43 a.m. to House offices stating, “CAO Engineers are working to resolve a problem preventing external phones from calling House phone numbers.” One hour later, CAO engineers sent another notice that they had “resolved the problem with incoming phone calls.”

The notice did not indicate the cause of the malfunction. When asked about the cause, CAO spokeswoman Emily Goodin wrote in an email to CQ Roll Call, “Routine maintenance was being performed on the phone system when a temporary outage occurred.  The problem has been resolved.”

Though the problem was eventually resolved, the malfunction caused some chaos on Capitol Hill.

A handful of lawmakers’ Twitter accounts attempted to alert constituents about the issue, instructing those looking to contact them to call their district offices.

In Rep. Brad Wenstrup’s Longworth office, Communications Director Greg Brooks first noticed the phone problem around 10:30 a.m. Brooks told CQ Roll Call he was expecting a call from someone, but received an email instead, saying they couldn’t get through. Staffers in the Ohio Republican’s office began investigating the problem, and discovered word was spreading on an internal listserv.

“Our phones in DC are experiencing technical difficulties,” Wenstrup’s official account tweeted at 10:54 a.m., along with contact info for the congressman’s Cinncinatti office.

Fellow Ohio Republican Pat Tiberi tweeted about the problems with the phones in his Longworth office one minute later, instructing those in need of assistance to contact his office in Worthington, Ohio.

Rep. David Joyce, D-Ohio, cited “technical difficulties” in Washington on social media. The phones were down for about 45 minutes, according to Kevin Benacci, Joyce’s deputy chief of staff.

Rep. Robert Pittenger, R-N.C., alerted his constituents to the “out-of-order” phones.

District staff for Rep. Lynn Jenkins helped the Kansas Republican’s Capitol Hill office realize the phone lines were down, according to spokesman Tom Brandt. The office sent out a tweet, instructing callers to dial Jenkins’ Topeka office. About 10 to 15 minutes after the problem was discovered, the phones began working, Brandt said.

As of noon, Rep. Cresent Hardy, R-Nev., was the only congressman to tweet that his phones were back up. A GOP staffer in Las Vegas said staff on the Hill notified Hardy’s district team of the issue. It was resolved 25 minutes later.

Emily Cahn contributed to this report.

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July 10, 2015

Capitol Evaluates Own Cybersecurity After OPM Hack

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

As news broke that data breaches at the Office of Personnel Management affected more than 22 million people, Senate staffers received a notice from the Senate Sergeant-at-Arms about the chamber’s own cybersecurity.

“As a result of recent data breaches in other areas of government, a reassessment of our cybersecurity posture was implemented,” read the Thursday email obtained by CQ Roll Call. The message then described updates to logging into the Senate’s Web VPN service, or workers’ remote access to their Senate accounts. Full story

July 8, 2015

OPM Hack Snares Senators

Daines, whose information was compromised in the OPM breach, called on the director to step down. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Daines, whose information was compromised in the OPM hack, called on the director to step down. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Despite a number of congressional hearings and classified briefings, lawmakers are frustrated by the lack of information relating to the recent Office of Personnel Management data breaches, and it is now clear  some lawmakers’ records may have been affected.

At least two current senators who were not federal employees were notified their information may have been compromised, signaling that retirement records for former House members may have been compromised in the first security breach, which the OPM announced on June 4. Full story

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

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