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*** Rep. Steven Horsford (D-Nev.) wants federal employees, contractors and state governments to be compensated for out-of-pocket expenses incurred during the recent 35-day government shutdown -- and for any future shutdowns lasting longer than 14 days.

Under the bill, federal employees and contractors who are furloughed or laid off would be able to claim expenses from the U.S. Treasury for fees, interest and fines incurred as a result of not having a paycheck during a lapse in appropriations. States and the District of Columbia would be able to collect compensation for any programs fielded to ease the burden of a shutdown on affected workers.

The bill also requires the Treasury Department to launch and maintain a reserve fund to pay such expenses as well as to develop forms and processes needed for individuals to claim their expenses.

*** Ambassadors and Foreign Service officials need to stop tweeting their thoughts on policy from their personal accounts. That's the message of a State Department Inspector General report issued this month. The report identified four ambassadors who were tweeting inappropriately about foreign affairs and events in their host countries. Part of the problem identified in the report is that agency guidelines are fuzzy and not underscored by guidance or specific examples.

In its reply dated Dec. 14, the State Department said it had established a Social Media Account Working Group to put together more-coherent guidance that will be posted to an internal website -- work that is expected to be completed by mid-March. New and more-detailed guidelines and a review process for possible violations is expected to be in place by the end of June.

*** As Democrats look to pass sweeping election and campaign finance legislation, the House Homeland Security Committee is planning a deep dive into voting system security. Chris Krebs, director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, is slated to testify along with Thomas Hicks, the chairman of the U.S. Election Assistance Commission, and others at a Feb. 12 hearing of the committee.

Posted on Feb 08, 2019 at 12:51 AM


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