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FCW : February 2013
February 2013 FCW.COM 7 Although most discussions have focused on the executive branch and federal contractors, Congress has begun preparing for the possibil- ity that a governmentwide seques- ter of spending could affect its own operations. The House Administration Com- mittee informed lawmakers back in December that the sequester applies to Congress and that lawmakers are "free to choose how they manage cuts to their of ce budget." For most, the majority of that spending is for staff salaries. An accompanying list of fre- quently asked questions about how the sequester would affect Congress focused heavily on the impact on fur- loughed staffers. That advice still applies even with the sequester delay, commit- tee spokeswoman Salley Wood told FCW. She added that lawmakers would have the option of imposing furloughs or reducing staff salaries. House authorities have not indicated whether employee bene ts such as health insurance would be affected. The prospective reduction of $120,000 to $160,000 in annual spend- ing for most House of ces would cre- ate "a major gap in our salaries and how we communicate with our con- stituents," said the chief of staff to a Democratic member of the House. He added that administrators have already advised lawmakers of ces not to send general mailings, such as newsletters or notices of local meetings. But one key class of paychecks would likely be exempt from the automatic budget cuts. Members of Congress --- whose failure to comply with their own goals and timetable for de cit reduction has compounded the budget uncertainties --- are treated dif- ferently under federal spending rules, according to congressional budget experts. Their $174,000 salaries are mandatory because of constitutional requirements, while compensation for their staff members and most govern- ment employees is discretionary. --- Richard E. Cohen Even Congress faces sequester cuts Trending in agency IT spending is planned for scal 2013, OMB says, with $20 billion for development and acquisition. $74 billion INK TANK Senators introduced a resolution on Jan. 23 to return cybersecurity to the list of legislative priorities, marking the rst steps to pass a cyber law since Congress failed to do so last fall. "Our military and national security of cials and our country s top busi- ness executives have made it abundantly clear that the serious threats to our country grow every day," said Sen. Jay Rock- efeller (D-W. Va.), one of the lawmakers who introduced the measure. "The private sector and the government must work together to secure the networks that are vital to American businesses and communities." The bill seeks to address cybersecu- rity by hardening communications and networks; establishing mechanisms for the public and private sectors to share information and detect, assess and respond to threats; promoting invest- ment in research and development and in workforce training; targeting iden- tity theft and protection; and enhancing partnership and cooperation. The resolution does not delve into the controversies that doomed cyber legislation in 2012, such as privacy concerns and disputes over whether to encourage or require private industry to participate in government security efforts. "The threat of a cyberattack is real, and it is growing," said Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.). "Congress must act soon to improve the government s abil- ity to share and receive information on cyberattacks and threats with the private sector." --- Amber Corrin Senate renews cybersecurity push Sen. Jay Rockefeller
March 15, 2013