Jim Langevin

Military bases unprepared for gathering climate change storm 
Responses to hurricanes, flooding already raising alarm bells in Congress and beyond

Months after Hurricane Michael struck Tyndall Air Force Base in October, the main hangar’s roof is badly damaged. (Elvina Nawaguna/CQ Roll Call file photo)

TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. — A mangled red, white and blue patrol plane still lies across what was once a park here where families played and picnicked, nine months after Hurricane Michael stormed out of the Gulf of Mexico with its 155-mile-per-hour winds.

And beyond that wreckage and other detritus, about 300 of this Air Force base’s nearly 500 damaged buildings are slated to be razed. The Air Force wants at least $4.25 billion to rebuild Tyndall at its current location on the Florida panhandle, a process the 325th Fighter Wing commander, Col. Brian Laidlaw, said could take several years.

Trump creates new cybersecurity competition with a $25,000 award
The competition is part of an executive order aimed at addressing a shortage of cybersecurity workers across the government

Sen. Gary Peters, D-Mich., speaks at a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing in Dirksen, Sept. 25, 2018. In addition to the Trump executive order, Peters backed a bill passed in the Senate last week, that would rotate cybersecurity experts across the federal government. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

The Trump administration announced steps to address a shortage of cybersecurity workers across the federal government, including sponsorship of a national competition and allowing cyber experts to rotate from one agency to another.

President Donald Trump issued an executive order Thursday that directed the Department of Homeland Security to work with the Office of Management and Budget to create a rotational program that will “serve as a mechanism for knowledge transfer” across agencies.

Trailblazers and absences define start of new Congress
Plenty of firsts, as well as some notable empty seats

Speaker Nancy Pelosi is sworn in Thursday, surrounded by children in the rostrum of the House chamber on the first day of the 116th Congress. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The first day of a new Congress is filled with ceremony and tradition, but there were a few things that set the start of the 116th Congress apart.

For the first time in history, a new congressional session began in the midst of a partial government shutdown. The swearing-in ceremonies and celebrations were clouded by the ongoing shutdown that’s now entered a second week. About a quarter of federal discretionary spending has run out, resulting in the shuttering of agencies and federal programs. But with the legislative branch already funded, there weren’t logistical problems on Capitol Hill that would devastate a high-profile day like the opening of a new Congress.

Lawmakers Eye Cyber Bounties to Fix Bugs in Federal Networks
House panel approves Senate bill to set up pilot program at DHS

The House Homeland Security Committee approved a Senate bill last week that would set up a bug bounty program at the Department of Homeland Security. Above, Chairman Michael McCaul, R-Texas, and ranking member Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., at a 2014 hearing. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Lawmakers last week moved closer to mandating that the Department of Homeland Security start a bug bounty program that will pay computer security researchers to spot weaknesses in DHS’s computer networks. That requirement would bring the department in line with other U.S. agencies with similar cybersecurity programs.

The House Homeland Security Committee on Thursday by unanimous consent approved a Senate bill that would set up a pilot program at the department. The Senate passed the bill on April 17. The Pentagon, the IRS and the General Services Administration already operate such programs, and lawmakers have proposed legislation that would launch similar efforts at the departments of State and Treasury.

Facebook, Twitter Testify: Here Are the Lawmakers Who Own Their Stock
Members of Congress have invested more than $7M in three tech giants

Maine Republican Sen. Susan Collins is the only senator who will question representatives from Facebook and Twitter who also holds stock in one of the companies. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The Senate will question representatives of tech giants Twitter and Facebook on Wednesday. The chamber’s Intelligence Committee also invited Alphabet CEO Larry Page but rejected the company’s counteroffer to send Google’s chief legal officer.

Roll Call found 32 members of Congress have stock ownership in the three companies. These stocks are held in trust funds, IRAs and brokerage accounts for the members, their spouses or their dependent children. In total, members of Congress have invested more than $7,000,000 in the three tech companies subject to scrutiny in Wednesday’s hearings.

NDAA Races Through Congress at Historic Pace
Only twice in the last 33 years has the defense authorization wrapped before Oct. 1

House Armed Services Chairman Mac Thornberry, R-Texas, credits the two-year budget deal for this year’s speedy adoption of the defense authorization bill. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Advancing a defense authorization bill was as painless this year as it has been in decades, according to the people who wrote the measure.

The House adopted the fiscal 2019 NDAA conference report in a lopsided 359-54 vote on Thursday just before that chamber’s members left town for the August recess.

Hundreds of Former Staffers Urge Senate to Act on Sexual Harassment
Senate leadership to receive letter following recess

Congress Too wants to keep the momentum to address sexual harassment strong on Capitol Hill. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Over 600 former staffers have signed a letter urging Senate leadership to consider legislation that would address sexual harassment on Capitol Hill. That number continued to grow Friday morning.

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, Rules Committee Chairman Richard Shelby and ranking member Amy Klobuchar will receive the letter early next week, coinciding with the Senate’s return.

Three Members Who Could Question Zuckerberg Hold Facebook Shares
Social media exec faces questions about Cambridge Analytica scandal

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, under fire over the Cambridge Analytica scandal, will testify before the House Energy and Commerce Committee on April 11. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images file photo)

Nearly 30 lawmakers hold stock in Facebook — including three who could soon be grilling its CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, about a British company that usurped his firm’s data without user consent to possibly help steer elections.

Twenty-eight members listed stock in the social media giant, according to Roll Call’s Wealth of Congress project. Among them, Democratic Reps. Kurt Schrader of Oregon and Joseph P. Kennedy III of Massachusetts sit on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, while Democratic Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island sits on Senate Judiciary.

House Passes Bill Critics Say Would Undermine Disability Rights
U.S. Capitol Police remove people in wheelchairs from the gallery

Harriotte Ranvig, 71, of Somerville Mass., is escorted out of the House chamber on February 15, 2018, after she and a group of protesters disrupted the vote on The ADA Education and Reform Act on which makes it harder for disabled people to sue for discrimination. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The House on Thursday passed, 225-192, a bill that supporters say would deter predatory lawsuits filed under a landmark disability rights law, over objections from its critics that the bill would undermine decades of progress for access to places like restaurants, theaters and other private establishments.

The bill would require potential plaintiffs to notify businesses who aren’t in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act before filing a lawsuit. As originally written, it would give the businesses six months to demonstrate their intent to comply, but an amendment adopted on Thursday shortened that timeline to four months.

Opinion: The Russians — and the Midterms — Are Coming
U.S. elections are vulnerable, and that needs to change

A march near the Kremlin in 2015 honors Russian opposition leader and former Deputy Prime Minister Boris Nemtsov, a fierce critic of President Vladimir Putin who was fatally shot shortly before a major opposition rally. Reps. Bennie Thompson and Robert A. Brady warn against Russian meddling in future U.S. elections. (Alexander Aksakov/Getty Images file photo)

In November 2016, 139 million Americans cast their votes in the wake of a massive Russian cyber-enabled operation to influence the outcome of the presidential election.

The Kremlin spread disinformation through hundreds of thousands of social media posts. Russian agents hacked U.S. political organizations and selectively exposed sensitive information. Russia targeted voting systems in at least 21 states, seeking to infiltrate the networks of voting equipment vendors, political parties and at least one local election board.