Workforce

AFGE touts Harris veep pick

Photo credit: By lev radin Shutterstock ID: 1360758863 April 5, 2019: Democratic Presidential candidate US Senator Kamala Harris speaks during National Action Network 2019 convention at Sheraton Times Square. 

Sen. Harris speaks in New York City, April 5, 2019 (Photo credit: Lev Radin/Shutterstock)

The largest federal employee union endorsed presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden's pick of Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) for the number two slot on the ticket.

"Senator Harris has been a proven fighter for working people throughout her career," American Federation of Government Employees National President Everett Kelley said in a statement.  "She has a strong voting record on the issues that matter to federal and D.C. government employees and to workers across the nation, with past 100% ratings from both AFGE and the AFL-CIO," he added.

In a July 2018 hearing, Harris warned that the proposed merger of the Office of Personnel Management into the General Services Administration would "make HR policy for career staff a function of politics."

Harris also lent her name to efforts to put checks on the use of facial recognition technology at properties subsidized by the Department of Housing and Urban Development, boost election funding aid to states, establish agency bug bounties and crack down on cybersecurity flaws in Defense Department weapons systems.

As a presidential candidate, Harris backed the Digital Service Act of 2019, which would give the head of the U.S. Digital Service the authority to disperse $15 million in grants to states and municipalities to carry out government service delivery projects. The bill also authorizes $50 million in annual funding for USDS to carry out its operations.

Harris also signed on as a co-sponsor of the AI in Government Act, a bill to try to address opportunities and challenges brought by artificial intelligence. The bill would establish a Center of Excellence at GSA to share technical knowledge and conduct research and charge the OPM with creating an occupational category for AI workers. Additionally, the bill tasked agencies with setting up governance plans to push AI while being mindful of civil liberties, privacy and civil rights.

About the Author

Adam Mazmanian is executive editor of FCW.

Before joining the editing team, Mazmanian was an FCW staff writer covering Congress, government-wide technology policy and the Department of Veterans Affairs. Prior to joining FCW, Mazmanian was technology correspondent for National Journal and served in a variety of editorial roles at B2B news service SmartBrief. Mazmanian has contributed reviews and articles to the Washington Post, the Washington City Paper, Newsday, New York Press, Architect Magazine and other publications.

Click here for previous articles by Mazmanian. Connect with him on Twitter at @thisismaz.


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