Congress Resets Shutdown Clock

Orhan Cam/

Lawmakers get rebuffed trying to delay the coming net neutrality vote and start asking questions about kids using Facebook’s messaging app.

President Donald Trump on Friday signed the continuing resolution to keep the government funded for another two weeks.

The continuing resolution keeps federal spending at current levels through Dec. 22 and provides a temporary authorization for the Children’s Health Insurance Program through the end of the year. Whether lawmakers can strike a deal on longer term appropriations remains unclear due to disagreement about increasing defense and non-defense spending caps.

“The shutdown threat is delayed—not resolved— and federal employees and their families will spend the next two weeks wondering about their work schedules and their paychecks,” National Treasury Employees Union National President Tony Reardon said in a statement.

Jersey Boys Take on Equifax Over Data Breach

A bill introduced in the House and Senate by two New Jersey Democrats Thursday would give credit reporting agencies like Equifax just two days to notify federal regulators about a data breach and three days to notify affected consumers.

The bill sponsored by Sen. Robert Menendez, R-N.J., in the Senate and Albio Sires, D-N.J., in the House would also require credit reporting agencies to create divisions that will help consumers after a breach.

The New Jersey lawmakers also introduced a consumer privacy bill of rights.

House Science Seeks Kaspersky Deets

The House Science Committee wants a full accounting from the Homeland Security Department about which federal agencies were running Kaspersky anti-virus before a September order to find and remove the Russian software, according to a Thursday letter.

Kaspersky was running on at least some systems at about 15 percent of federal agencies, according to Homeland Security testimony, but officials have declined to name the specific agencies in open hearings.

The Science Committee also wants to know which agencies, if any, are lagging behind in removing the suspect software and asks for copies of all correspondence between Homeland Security and Kaspersky, according to the Thursday letter from Chairman Lamar Smith, R-Texas.

Senators Query Facebook About Messenger for Kids

Two Democratic Senators want to make sure Facebook’s new messaging app for children under 12 doesn’t skirt federal privacy regulations or leave children’s personal information unsecured.

In a letter to the social networking giant, Sens. Edward Markey, D-Mass., and Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., asked what cybersecurity is built into the messenger app, what information from the app Facebook will share with its service providers and vendors and what Facebook will do with the information once users turn 13.

New Leaders at DHS, GSA

Permanent leaders are now in place at two of the top civilian agencies for federal cybersecurity, technology and acquisition.

The Senate narrowly confirmed Kirstjen Nielsen to lead the Homeland Security Department Tuesday, making her the first person with an extensive cybersecurity resume to lead the government’s top civilian cyber agency.

That same day, the Senate confirmed Emily Webster Murphy to lead the General Services Administration. Murphy previously led a reorganization of the agency’s Federal Acquisition Service.

Net Neutrality Vote Approaches as Scheduled

Despite protests from lawmakers and tech industry groups, the Federal Communications Commission said it will proceed as scheduled with a vote to repeal net neutrality regulations at the commission’s Dec. 14 meeting. On Monday, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai denied 28 senators’ request to delay the vote after researchers found millions of public comments on the issue were generated by bots. With Republicans controlling three of the five seats at the commission, the measure is widely expected to pass.

Coming Up: AI, Management and Rosenstein in the Hot Seat

Lawmakers aren’t heading out for holidays just yet.

The Senate Commerce Committee will examine machine learning and artificial intelligence on Tuesday with a panel of experts and industry leaders.

The House Judiciary Committee has scheduled a Wednesday hearing with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein focused on Justice Department oversight. That hearing may cover Justice efforts to prosecute cyber crime and is sure to focus on Rosenstein’s role overseeing the investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.

On Thursday, the Senate Homeland Security Committee will consider Margaret Weichert’s nomination to be deputy director for management at the White House Office of Management and Budget, a role vital for ensuring tech and cyber policies are implemented across the government.

Heather Kuldell and Jack Corrigan contributed to this report.