Federal Drive Show Blog - Aug. 13, 2013

Tuesday - 8/13/2013, 1:27pm EDT

This is the Federal Drive show blog. Here you can listen to the interviews, find more information about the guests on the show each day and links to additional resources.

Today's guests:

Devon Hewitt
Government Contracts Lawyer
Protorae Law

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The General Service Administration's Federal Acquisition Service spent years developing its OASIS program. It's a $60 billion, multiple award contract for services to be used across government. The request for quotes came out less than two weeks ago, and already two would-be bidders have protested to the Government Accountability Office. They say the OASIS task order criteria is unfair. Devon Hewitt, a government contracts expert at the Protorae law firm, explains what the protest is really all about.

Capt. Judith Epstein
Lead Researcher
Naval Medical Research Center

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Federal researchers have developed a vaccine that provides complete protection against malaria in clinical trials. Scientists with the National Institutes of Health, the Navy and other partners have published the early-stage results in the journal Science. Navy officials say they have been working on a vaccine since the early 1970's. Capt. Judith Epstein, the Navy's lead researcher, explains how the vaccine works.

Steve Schooner
Co-Director of the Government Procurement Law Program
George Washington University

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An eager participant in a recent Federal Trade Commission contest has become a disgruntled loser and a warning to all agencies planning public challenges. David Frankel submitted what he thought was an award-winning idea for combating robocalls. He didn't win, so he appealed. Now, he says the FTC didn't follow its own contest rules. Steve Schooner, co-director of the Government Procurement Law Program at George Washington University, explains how the case brings into question agencies' responsibilities in launching challenges.

President Obama's guidelines on challenges and prizes

Kevin Brancato
Defene Analyst
Bloomberg Government

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Not the fiscal cliff once feared, but a roller coaster: That's how some analysts have described sequestration's impact on federal budgets. Some agencies are riding high; they've canceled furlough days after finding they have more money than expected. But some are rushing to award big contracts before the spare cash disappears at the end of the fiscal year. Kevin Brancato, a defense analyst at Bloomberg Government, explains how much more he expects the government will spend between now and the end of the fiscal year.

Brett Baker
Assistant Inspector General
National Science Foundation

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Thanks to Brett Baker, an assistant inspector general at the National Science Foundation, agencies now have a tool to improve how they award and manage grants. He created an automated system agencies can use to evaluate grants and lower the risk of waste, fraud and abuse.

Elise Viebeck
Reporter
The Hill

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Talk about swallowing your own medicine: Members of Congress and their staff are buying health coverage for next year through the new health care exchanges. They go online Oct. 1 as part of the Affordable Care Act. The Office of Personnel Management has published a proposed rule explaining the switch-over. Elise Viebeck, a reporter with the Hill, has been tracking this story.

Heard Tom and Emily talk about another story during the show, but don't see it here? Check out our daily federal headlines for the latest news affecting the federal community.