Federal News Countdown: Postal reform, retirement hike, contractor pay cap

Friday - 4/27/2012, 3:30pm EDT

Today's guests on the Federal News Countdown:
- Alan Chvotkin, executive vice president and counsel, Professional Service Council
- Bill Bransford, partner, Shaw Bransford & Roth

Alan Chvotkin's stories
#3 OMB raises salary cap for contractor executives because it has to
From Government Executive:

The ongoing fight over how much to reimburse contractors for their executive compensation took a new turn on Monday after the White House published a Federal Register notice raising the statutory limit on reimbursable contractor pay to $763,029. The new cap, a 10 percent hike over the previous limit of $693,951 for the top five employees, was required under a formula set in 1997.

#2 Navy aims for more accountability, centralized authority in acquisition commands
From Federal News Radio:

Buying the systems sailors and marines need at a time of declining budgets is going to mean more cooperation, accountability and centralization, the leaders of several of the Navy Department's major systems commands said Tuesday.

#1 VA exempt from automatic cuts, White House says
From Washington Post:

The Department of Veterans Affairs' budget is exempt from the threat of automatic cuts to federal spending scheduled to be made next year, the White House said Monday afternoon. The statement was made in a letter Monday from the Office of Management and Budget in response to a request in March from the Government Accountability Office seeking the White House view.


Bill Bransford's stories
#3 Postal bill could bring hike in health premiums for federal workers
From The Hill:

Thousands of federal workers could see a double-digit jump in their healthcare premiums under a postal reform bill that is moving through the Senate. The bill would change the way postal workers get their health benefits and could have a ripple effect across the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP), which provides coverage for the federal workforce.

Senate passes U.S. Postal Service overhaul
From GovExec:

The Senate passed sweeping U.S. Postal Service reform legislation by a 62-37 vote Wednesday, after months of debate and procedural halts on the measure. The legislation (S. 1789) allows the agency to offer buyout and early retirement incentives to 100,000 employees, switches to five-day delivery if officials cannot come up with other cost savings within two years, and restructures a requirement that the Postal Service prefund its retirement health benefits with more than $5 billion annually.

#2 Fed pension hike advances in House
From GovExec:

Federal workers would have to contribute more to their government pensions under a bill the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee approved Thursday. The legislation requires current federal employees to pay 5 percent more toward their retirement over the next five years, beginning in 2013. Members of Congress would have to contribute an additional 8.5 percent to their defined benefit plan during the same time period.

#1 Obama calls misbehaving Secret Service agents "knuckleheads"
From Reuters:

President Barack Obama on Tuesday blamed a Colombia prostitution scandal engulfing the U.S. Secret Service on the misconduct of a "couple of knuckleheads" and insisted that the vast majority of agents perform their work admirably. Obama's comments appeared to play down the extent of the controversy, the worst in decades to hit the agency responsible for protecting the president, his family and other senior officials.