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12:03 am, October 1, 2014

House News

More problems with VA scheduling systems revealed

The electronic wait system for keeping track of and monitoring initial primary-care appointments for new patients at Veterans Affairs medical facilities is not the only scheduling system at VA that's now under scrutiny. A separate system for monitoring VA patients' access to outpatient specialty care -- such as cardiologists, gastroenterologists and physical therapists — is also "unreliable," according to GAO's Debra Draper, who testified before the House Veterans Affairs Committee Monday evening.

Monday - 06/09/2014, 05:21pm EDT

John Mahoney, Federal Employment Attorney

The House has approved a bill to give the Veterans Affairs secretary the right to fire senior executives almost at will. It's understandable — members of Congress are outraged over long waiting times and falsification of records at VA hospitals, compounded by the fact that VA managers have received millions of dollars in bonuses. But it's not clear whether the proposal is legal. In our weekly legal loop segment, federal employment attorney John Mahoney spoke with Tom Temin and Emily Kopp on the Federal Drive. He explained exactly what the House approved and who the bill affects.

Thursday - 06/05/2014, 09:00am EDT
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Erik Wasson, Staff Writer, The Hill Newspaper

Congress may seem consumed by hot-button issues like the Veterans Affairs scandal, but it is moving forward on the nitty-gritty. The House has passed a few fiscal 2015 budget bills. It's moving forward on others. In the Senate, Senate Appropriations Chair Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) pledges: no more government on auto-pilot. Her committee will approve spending bills too. For an update on all the appropriations, Erik Wasson, a staff writer at The Hill, spoke with Tom and Emily on the Federal Drive.

Tuesday - 06/03/2014, 06:53pm EDT
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Congress joins the fray as protests mount over strategic sourcing

Reps. Grace Meng and Tim Walberg introduce a provision in the Defense authorization bill to require GAO to study the impact of strategic sourcing on small businesses. GSA also is facing more than two dozen protests over its current and future office supplies contracts and now OASIS.

Tuesday - 06/03/2014, 01:29pm EDT

House bill cuts 'red tape' at VA, but at what cost?

On its surface, the Department of Veterans Affairs Management Accountability Act of 2014 is simple, but its simplicity belies the risks it presents for VA employees, former DHS CHCO Jeff Neal says.

Friday - 05/30/2014, 04:57pm EDT

With budget deadline still months away, should agencies start prepping for CR?

The Sept. 30 deadline for Congress to deliver a complete fiscal 2015 budget plan is still about four months away. But with a lengthy summer recess spanning nearly the entire month of August, that leaves fewer than 40 working days for the appropriation committees on Capitol Hill to finalize agency spending levels. That has some budget watchers already raising the possibility of a stopgap continuing resolution to fund government operations.

Thursday - 05/29/2014, 05:09pm EDT
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Tracking the 2015 budget

Congress has until Sept. 30 to deliver a complete fiscal 2015 budget plan setting agency funding levels. Track the progress of your agency's 2013 appropriations bill.

Thursday - 05/29/2014, 04:44pm EDT

House panel snubs Pentagon on defense spending

The House panel that decides defense spending came out with a $570 billion blueprint Thursday that spares the USS George Washington aircraft carrier, gives military personnel a 1.8 percent pay raise and rebuffs Pentagon efforts to make troops and their families pay slightly more for housing and groceries at on-base commissaries.

Thursday - 05/29/2014, 04:01pm EDT

VA hacks away at claims backlog, increases accuracy

Allison Hickey, VA's undersecretary for benefits, said VBMS has transformed the agency from a paper system to one that mostly relies on electronic data. Some lawmakers express concern about the way the agency is measuring how it reduces the number of veterans waiting for benefits.

Wednesday - 05/28/2014, 04:49am EDT
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Bob Cusack, The Hill Newspaper

Democratic and Republican members of Congress are at loggerheads over immigration reform. Meanwhile agencies who carry out immigration policy wonder what will happen. Leaders cannot agree on issues such as border security, work visas, and other issues. If the House fails to pass some type of reform by the end of July, some Democratic senators say President Obama will act on his own. Bob Cusack is the managing editor of The Hill newspaper. He joined Tom Temin and Emily Kopp on the Federal Drive to discuss exactly what laws are up for reforming.

Tuesday - 05/27/2014, 09:10am EDT
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Lawmakers call for tighter grip on VA hospitals

Lawmakers overseeing VA hospital system urge remedies to ease long waits and backlogs

Monday - 05/26/2014, 07:02pm EDT

House passes curbs on NSA phone surveillance

House votes to end NSA bulk collection of Americans' phone records _ but restraints limited

Friday - 05/23/2014, 10:54am EDT

Both houses of Congress deal blows to DoD's cost-cutting proposals

The House passed its version of the annual defense authorization bill Thursday, while the Senate's is still a work in progress. Both versions mostly shun DoD's proposals to cut costs during sequestration.

Friday - 05/23/2014, 03:32am EDT
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House bill extends agency authority to rehire retired feds

A measure included in the massive Defense policy bill approved by the House Thursday would ensure agencies maintain the flexibility to bring federal retirees back on board on a part-time basis. An amendment to the 2015 Defense Authorization Act, introduced by Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.), extends the authority for agency heads to rehire retirees without specific approval from the Office of Personnel Management.

Thursday - 05/22/2014, 05:06pm EDT

House approves bill to speed firings at VA

The House has approved a bill to give the Veterans Affairs secretary more authority to fire or demote senior executives at the agency. The bill responds to a growing furor over allegations of treatment delays and preventable deaths at VA hospitals.

Wednesday - 05/21/2014, 07:30pm EDT

Lawmakers worried DHS losing faith in Federal Protective Service

The Federal Protective Service will no longer coordinate security at DHS headquarters on Nebraska Avenue in Northwest D.C. according to a May 1 memo from the agency's chief security officer to the undersecretary for management. The memo was brought to light Wednesday by members of a House Transportation and Infrastructure subcommittee at a hearing on the security of federal buildings. Rep. Lou Barletta (R-Pa.), chairman of the Subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings and Emergency Management, cited the DHS memo as a possible sign that "confidence in FPS may be eroding" from within DHS.

Wednesday - 05/21/2014, 04:40pm EDT

DHS' push for clearer cyber authorities moves to the House

Larry Zelvin, the director of the National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center in DHS's National Protection and Programs Directorate, is expected to tell the House Homeland Security Committee Wednesday that the implementation of the advanced intrusion detection and prevention program known as Einstein is hampered by the lack of clarity of the exact role DHS is allowed to play under the current set of cybersecurity laws.

Wednesday - 05/21/2014, 06:10am EDT

House NDAA amendment preemptively blocks some DoD furloughs

A proposed amendment to the House version of the annual bill setting policy for the Defense Department would preemptively protect DoD employees paid through working-capital funds from potential furloughs. The measure was introduced Monday by Reps. Tom Cole (R-Okla.) and Derek Kilmer (D-Wash.).

Tuesday - 05/20/2014, 04:00pm EDT

White House threatens veto of defense bill

The White House is threatening a veto of the House version of a $601 billion defense bill over election-year moves to spare weapons systems and popular programs in the face of limited budgets.

Monday - 05/19/2014, 06:58pm EDT

Inside the DoD Reporter's Notebook: Air Force budget cuts, military readiness, DoD mobility

Inside the DoD's Reporter's Notebook is biweekly feature focused on news about the Defense Department and defense community as gathered by Federal News Radio DoD Reporter Jared Serbu. Submit your ideas, suggestions and news tips to Jared via email.

Monday - 05/19/2014, 03:15am EDT
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