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Inside the Senate's coronavirus response package

Following the House's draft stimulus bill Tuesday, the Senate published its version of the coronavirus response package Wednesday with a bit less money proposed for emergency IT needs. Still, it appears the bill — negotiated by Senate Democrats and the White House — looks to give more money to fund emergency IT and telework needs than the Office of Management and Budget originally requested. The highlights of the Senate’s nearly $2 trillion rescue bill: billions for telehealth support at the departments of Veterans Affairs and Health and Human Services; hundreds of millions to fund telework at the Department of Defense, the FBI, other Department of Justice components, Army Corps of Engineers and the Interior Department; and more than $18 million to the General Services Administration to "support Government-wide remote connectivity initiatives, including digital signatures, website development and testing, and virtual private network technologies." Jackson Barnett dives deep into the Senate package.

A Message From AWS Educate

With over 1,500 institutions and hundreds of thousands of students who use AWS Educate, we wanted to take you on a trip around the world and highlight how students are learning and innovating with the cloud. Learn more.

Michael Rigas to replace Weichert at OMB

Michael Rigas has been selected to pull double duty, both as the acting director of the Office of Personnel Management and now as the deputy director for management of the Office of Management and Budget. OMB announced Wednesday that Rigas will replace the departing Margaret Weichert, at least in the interim. Rigas had also been serving as deputy director of OPM for the past two years but was asked to step up in the interim when Dale Cabaniss left as the agency’s director earlier this month. “Over the last two years Mike has been one of the key drivers of the President’s Management Agenda, so he is the ideal person to carry the management agenda forward. I know he’s going to do great work at OMB working to improve the Federal Government’s service and stewardship for the American public,” Weichert said. Billy Mitchell has more on Rigas.

Air Force making deals despite COVID-19

The Air Force is making it a point to not let the coronavirus impact its business with small, innovative startups. The service had to scramble earlier this month to turn a three-day “pitch bowl” into a one-day, virtually hosted online event when the SXSW conference was canceled. Still, the department awarded nearly $1 billion to startup tech companies in Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) awards — seed-like funding from the government to help commercial companies focus on early-stage technology that could be used for defense purposes. "I am amazed how little disruption entered our programs despite all the disruption around them," said Will Roper, the Air Force’s head of acquisition. Jackson has more from the Air Force.

Agencies OK to hire with digital tools

Federal agencies need to continue hiring and onboarding new employees, despite being limited from doing so in-person. So, OPM issued new guidance this week allowing to expand how they execute the oath of office for new employees using remote or virtual options like Skype or FaceTime. It is up to the agency CIOs to determine which tool best fits their workforce, Rigas wrote. And once employees are officially hired, there’s also the process of onboarding and training that typically takes place in-person. As long as the coronavirus pandemic continues to impact agencies’ in-person operations, OPM says they should also conduct the onboarding process using “remote electronic capabilities.” More on OPM's virtual hiring guidance.

WATCH: The real deal behind IT modernization

FedScoop recently hosted its fourth annual IT Modernization Summit. At the conference, we spoke with top federal IT officials and leaders from industry about the latest in federal IT modernization and what exactly modernization means to them. Today, we're releasing videos from:

Want more? Catch our events for all things workforce!
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