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The next head of Congress’ in-house research group will have to overcome a long list of technology and morale issues that have plagued the service for years.
The Congressional Research Service’s issues have impeded its ability to provide prompt and accessible information to lawmakers, union leaders and past employees say. But the June 30 departure of director Mary Mazanec could signal a long-awaited period of change.
Mazanec’s decision to step down came after a series of House hearings this spring revealed bipartisan criticism of the nonpartisan think tank, which produces thousands of reports each year that help inform legislation and keep lawmakers up to date on emerging or hyper-specific issues. In April, Republicans on the House Administration Subcommittee on Modernization slammed Mazanec for unresolved technology issues and high attrition.
Repeated employee complaints culminated in an eight-page letter from the CRS employee union to Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden last month. CRS is part of the Library of Congress. The union criticized a senior leadership team that they said “has moved forward with policies that seem to be at odds with the Service’s mission.”
Additionally, former employees say CRS’s technology woes made their jobs more difficult, citing years of sclerotic conference and video calls, an outdated website without a mobile version, and slow Wi-Fi connections in the office. Congress provided $20 million for modernization starting in 2018, but in an April hearing, Mazanec was unable to account for specific uses for the money, nor how much remained. The agency’s overall budget totaled $133.6 million for fiscal 2023.
Robert Newlen, former deputy librarian of Congress, will serve as acting CRS director after Mazanec’s departure. Mazanec will remain at the Library of Congress in an advisory role. A permanent director will be selected by Hayden after a “wide-ranging search,” the Library wrote in an email to Bloomberg Government. Read the full story from Amelia Davidson.
- President Joe Biden will deliver a noon CDT address in Chicago to outline “Bidenomics” — his vision for growing the economy. (Bloomberg News previews his remarks.)
- The president will attend a 1:15 p.m. CDT campaign reception in Chicago before returning to the White House at 7:45 p.m. EDT
- Principal Deputy Press Secretary Olivia Dalton will gaggle aboard Air Force One en route to Chicago.
China’s tech sector has a new obsession: to outdo US titans like Google and Microsoft in a technology that may determine the global power stakes.
Biden says it’s too early to tell what the turmoil in Moscow will mean for Vladimir Putin. But the 24-hour mutiny by mercenaries is likely to bolster those in Washington seeking to boost support for Ukraine’s war effort.
The US approved the potential sale of as many as 16 P-8 surveillance aircraft to Canada in a deal valued at as much as $6 billion for Boeing, even as Ottawa said no decision had been made and Canada’s Bombardier pressed its own bid.
Politics, Probes, and 2024
The conservative-led Supreme Court rejected Republican-backed efforts to remake voting rules for the second time this term, signaling that litigants went too far.
The Supreme Court opinion upholding the authority of state courts over elections will be barely a speed bump in North Carolina and Ohio, which will change congressional district lines for the 2024 election.
Investment managers working with public pensions in Illinois would have to disclose how they integrate factors such as greenhouse gas emissions and labor practices into their decisions and analyses, under a measure awaiting action by the governor.
Donald Trump is doubling down on his legal brawl with E. Jean Carroll, suing the New York author for defamation weeks after a jury held him liable for sexually abusing her.
Trump’s former attorney Rudy Giuliani has been interviewed by federal investigators as part of the office of special counsel Jack Smith’s 2020 election interference probe, CNN reports.
More News We’re Reading
The Biden administration will help fund high-speed rail projects in California and electric bicycle charging in New York City under a $2.26 billion round of grants from the 2021 infrastructure law announced today.
States such as Michigan, Georgia, and North Carolina are struggling to promote electric vehicles despite spending billions of dollars on manufacturer subsidies, a new report shows.
A new White House team to coordinate efforts to reduce plastic pollution will address the needs of overburdened communities, the Biden administration’s point person on the issue said Tuesday.
The Energy Department and New Mexico officials agreed to terms for a new 10-year permit for the country’s sole underground repository for nuclear waste.
Less than two weeks after a bridge collapse in Philadelphia on a key stretch of I-95, state and federal officials reopened the section on June 23. What made it possible: emergency, no-bid contracts, around-the-clock repair crews, a guarantee from the federal government to pick up check, and no small amount of Rust Belt ingenuity.
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