Quick Hits

*** Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) warned of a possible government shutdown in remarks on the Senate floor on Oct. 30.

"As everyone remembers, the president’s meddling and erratic behavior caused the last government shutdown, the longest in our nation’s history. The best way to avoid another shutdown would be for the president to keep out of the appropriations process, and for Republicans to stop the games and get serious about negotiating in a bipartisan way forward," Schumer said.

Republicans and Democrats are currently at odds over funding allocations known as 302(b)s that divide the agreed upon pool of discretionary spending funding among 12 appropriations bills. So far, Senate appropriators have yet to agree on those funding levels, and that is holding up the passage of funding bills. While Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has proposed moving ahead with a group of four bipartisan funding bills, Democrats are reluctant to proceed before all of the funding levels are finalized.

At issue is funding for a planned wall on the Mexican border which is opposed by Democrats in the Senate and in the House of Representatives.

*** Cybersecurity experts always bemoan the lack of trained cybersecurity personnel to meet the demands of public sector and private sector missions. Now the Aspen Cybersecurity Group is trying to fix that by bringing together 15 major companies to expand the pipeline for job candidates by looking beyond graduates of four-year colleges, focus job postings on core requirements rather than highly bespoke needs and clarifying career paths for would be cybersecurity professionals. Participating companies include Apple, Facebook, Google, IBM, Northrop Grumman, Symantec, Unisys and Verizon.

*** The American Federation of Government Employees referred a series of sexual harassment allegations against current union president J. David Cox to an outside investigator in order to ensure that "the integrity of the investigatory process and ensure that this matter does not distract AFGE from the important challenges facing our members," according to a statement. The move to launch an external probe happened after an internal review, the union said.

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