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1:30 am, October 23, 2014

Congressional Spotlight

Bill calls for 'socially responsible' TSP fund

A new bill would allow federal employees to contribute toward their retirement by investing only in companies deemed socially responsible. The "Federal Employees Responsible Investment Act," introduced this week by Rep. Jim Langevin (D-R.I.) and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), would require the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board to add a "Corporate Responsibility Index" to the existing five investment options available to federal employees.

Friday - 11/22/2013, 05:14pm EST

Issa subpoenas OPM documents on background checks

Chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) has issued a subpoena for records from the Office of Personnel Management, seeking more details on the agency's process for conducting background investigations. OPM's Federal Investigative Services division, which conducts 90 percent of the federal government's background investigations, has come under intense scrutiny since it was revealed earlier this year that the same contractor -- United States Investigation Services (USIS) -- performed background checks of both National Security agency leaker Edward Snowden and Navy Yard gunman Aaron Alexis.

Friday - 11/22/2013, 02:20pm EST

Bill would ensure blue-collar feds get 1 percent pay raise in January

A new bill introduced this week by Rep. Matt Cartwright (D-Pa.) would ensure blue-collar federal employees receive the same scheduled pay increase in January as General Schedule employees. White-collar GS employees are due to get a 1 percent pay raise in January, under a plan announced in August by President Barack Obama, who has authority to set GS pay levels. However, pay raises for wage-grade or hourly employees require separate legislation. With no action by Congress, pay for these employees would remain flat.

Friday - 11/22/2013, 11:11am EST

How Congress lost its tech groove at the corner of CitiBank and a fruit basket

Congress, as an institution, doesn't appear to have the technological skills and knowledge to ask the right questions when it comes to increasingly complex agency IT programs. The congressionally-chartered Office of Technology Assessment was defunded in the mid-1990s and former staffers say its absence is sorely felt today. Many people say the time is right for a reboot of the OTA. This article is part of the Federal News Radio special report, A New Era in Technology.

Thursday - 11/21/2013, 07:00am EST

3 takeways from HealthCare.gov IT hearing; First task order for continuous monitoring is out

In this week's edition of Inside the Reporter's Notebook, Executive Editor Jason Miller shares news and buzz in the acquisition and IT communities that you may have missed.

Friday - 11/15/2013, 05:20pm EST

Postal Service posts $5B loss; CFO says USPS in 'precarious position'

Postal officials called on Congress to lift a 2006 congressional requirement that it make annual $5.6 billion payments to cover expected health care costs for future retirees.

Friday - 11/15/2013, 04:08pm EST

CBO: Congress could wring $300B in deficit savings from federal pay, pension changes

A new Congressional Budget Office analysis of proposed deficit-reduction efforts contained half a dozen proposals affecting federal employees, including reducing annual pay raises, requiring federal employees to contribute more toward their pensions and reducing the size of the federal workforce through attrition. All told, such proposals would reduce federal outlays or increase revenues by $308 billion, according to CBO estimates.

Friday - 11/15/2013, 12:30pm EST

Federal IT officials shirk responsibility for HealthCare.gov problems

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee pressed federal Chief Information Officer Steve VanRoekel, federal Chief Technology Officer Todd Park, Department of Health and Human Services CIO Frank Baitman and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services deputy CIO Henry Chao to acknowledge the oversight failings, and for someone to declare they were in charge of the program.

Thursday - 11/14/2013, 03:42am EST
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Top priority for DHS pick: Vacancies not terrorism

Homeland Security nominee: Priorities are filling job vacancies, morale over counterterrorism

Wednesday - 11/13/2013, 05:21pm EST
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Lawmakers raise cybersecurity concerns about HealthCare.gov

The troubled HealthCare.gov website has been the subject of at least one attempted but unsuccessful cyber attack, according to one of the of the Homeland Security Department's top cyber officials. Lawmakers at a House Homeland Security Committee hearing said the consolidation of personal information and the glitch-prone website are cause for concern.

Wednesday - 11/13/2013, 04:11pm EST

Automatic spending cuts would bite more in 2014

Automatic spending cuts largely barked about this year might bite in 2014

Tuesday - 11/12/2013, 02:40am EST

White House considering options after Issa subpoenaes federal CTO Park

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) is compelling federal CTO Todd Park show up Wednesday for a hearing before the Oversight and Government Reform Committee on the IT oversight problems of the HealthCare.gov website.

Monday - 11/11/2013, 12:47pm EST

DoD finalizing major rewrite of acquisition guidance

Reworked guidance is the first update to key Defense Department instruction since 2008. Internal attempt to streamline the system is leading department officials to seek legislative changes to make the military acquisition process less complex.

Monday - 11/11/2013, 10:25am EST

Lawmakers question DHS' awards under the EAGLE II contract

Rep. Mike McCaul (R-Texas), chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, and Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-S.C.), chairman of the subcommittee on Oversight and Management Efficiency, wrote a letter to DHS Chief Procurement Officer Nick Nayak earlier this week questioning the agency's entire solicitation process.

Monday - 11/11/2013, 03:56am EST

Sebelius takes GOP criticism over "Obamacare"

Sebelius: health care website needed couple of hundred fixes when repair effort began

Saturday - 11/09/2013, 08:40am EST

Mikulski seeks two-year sequestration solution

Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), chairwoman of the Appropriations Committee, took to the Senate floor this week calling on House-Senate budget negotiators to look at replacing the across-the-board sequestration cuts for at least two years.

Friday - 11/08/2013, 12:23pm EST

Fed groups: Pay and benefits should be off the table in budget talks

A coalition of more than two dozen federal-employee unions and advocacy groups is calling on budget negotiators to come up with a way to undo the across-the-board sequestration budget cuts that are poised to slash agency spending by billions more this year. But following three years of a pay freeze and the recent 16-day government shutdown, the groups are equally adamant that changes to federal employees' pay and benefits should be off the table.

Friday - 11/08/2013, 10:24am EST

Feasibility of DATA Act questioned even as Senate committee OKs it

Some agency leaders who would be charged with implementing the bill are unsure the DATA Act can be brought to life successfully. Officials said the government can improve how it makes data accessible and publishes procurement and other spending information. But the DATA Act may be asking for things that aren't pragmatically possible.

Thursday - 11/07/2013, 06:21am EST

Budget experts blame lawmaker 'disengagement' as source of DoD turmoil

Former top staffers say current members of Congress no longer have a stake in any particular appropriation or authorization bill making its way through the legislative gauntlet one reason why DoD and the rest of government continue to stumble from one continuing resolution to the next.

Thursday - 11/07/2013, 05:51am EST
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Disability claims backlog, EHR efforts top VA nominee's priorities

At his nomination hearing before a Senate committee Tuesday, President Barack Obama's pick to serve in the Veterans Affairs Department's No. 2 management slot pledged to tackle a host of challenges plaguing the department. Sloan Gibson, the president and CEO of the nonprofit USO, told members of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee if confirmed to be the VA's deputy director he would tackle the longstanding backlog of disability claims and will work to find common ground with the Defense Department on a new strategy for a joint electronic-health records system. The committee also considered the nominations of Linda Schwartz to be the assistant VA secretary for policy and planning and Constance Tobias to serve as the chair of VA's Board of Veterans' Appeals.

Wednesday - 11/06/2013, 03:22pm EST
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