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4:30 am, September 19, 2014

Congressional Spotlight

What's the latest from Capitol Hill?

Jon Etherton, president of Etherton and Associates, Inc., will give us an update on the procurement issues being discussed on Capitol Hill.
July 15, 2014

Tuesday - 07/15/2014, 07:33pm EDT
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Lawmakers, OPM seek facelift for aging GS system

There's growing consensus on Capitol Hill and from the Obama administration that the pay and personnel system used by the federal government since 1949 and infrequently updated is showing its age and due for a major facelift. Lawmakers probed the General Schedule system Tuesday during a hearing before the House Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on the Federal Workforce, U.S. Postal Service and the Census.

Tuesday - 07/15/2014, 06:11pm EDT

Larry Allen, President, Allen Federal Business Partners

As Congress tries to piece together the big National Defense Authorization Act for 2015, it's also looking back to the version of the bill it passed two years ago and asking what ever happened with some of those provisions. The 2013 version of the NDAA included several provisions dealing with small business that made advocates happy. But several of those legal changes are still awaiting agency regulations to actually implement them. The House Small Business Committee held a hearing on the matter earlier today. Larry Allen was among the witnesses. He's president of Allen Federal Business Partners. He shared his insights on the neglected proposals on In Depth with guest host Jared Serbu.

Tuesday - 07/15/2014, 05:13pm EDT
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VA cites progress on backlog; Congress disagrees

VA cites progress on benefits backlog, but congressman accuses agency of 'hiding' numbers

Tuesday - 07/15/2014, 05:02pm EDT
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House bill would give Federal Register a facelift

The House of Representatives passed a bill that would modernize and digitize the Federal Register, allowing the Federal Register to say goodbye to its print legacy.

Tuesday - 07/15/2014, 04:43pm EDT

House easily passes TSP restructuring bill

The Smart Savings Act would make the Lifecycle Funds the default investment option in the Thrift Savings Plan for new federal employees.

Tuesday - 07/15/2014, 03:55pm EDT

Get rid of the ATF? Why one Congressman wants it gone

A top House overseer of federal law enforcement thinks that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) should be dissolved.

Tuesday - 07/15/2014, 12:25pm EDT
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Ben Goad, Staff Writer, The Hill Newspaper

President Barack Obama pledges to hit the accelerator on key policy goals, with or without Congress' help. The White House has released a report recounting more than 40 administrative actions taken this year and hinting at more to come. It's fodder for a lawsuit filed by House Republicans. But the administration makes no apologies. Ben Goad is a staff writer at the Hill Newspaper. He joined Emily Kopp on the Federal Drive to discuss what's happened and what we can expect before year's end.

Tuesday - 07/15/2014, 09:26am EDT
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David Hawkings, Senior Editor, Roll Call

The Senate plans to mark up the 2015 defense appropriations bill on Thursday. That will probably help make it the first appropriations bill to pass the Senate for fiscal 2015. Meanwhile the House will try to pass its seventh appropriations bill. Congress as a whole needs to pass 12 spending bills by September 30th if it wants to avoid another continuing resolution or a full government shutdown. David Hawkings is Senior Editor of Roll Call. He shared Capitol Hill's progress on the bills on In Depth with guest host Jared Serbu.

Monday - 07/14/2014, 04:56pm EDT
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Brenda Farrell, Government Accountability Office

Over the past decade, Congress has stepped up pressure on the Defense Department to gather data about its civilian workforce, and to use that data to develop a strategic workforce plan. The Pentagon has a plan, but according to the Government Accountability Office, it has some gaps: It leaves out some of the information Congress mandated. DoD's workforce strategy doesn't appear to be tied to either its budget plans or its broader management strategies. Brenda Farrell is director of defense capabilities and management at GAO. She discussed the report on In Depth with guest host Jared Serbu.

Monday - 07/14/2014, 04:51pm EDT
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Jon Adler, Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association

The House's top overseer over federal law enforcement agencies thinks the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has outlived its usefulness. Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI), the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee says he plans to introduce legislation that would abolish the ATF -- and fold its current responsibilities into other federal agencies, including the FBI and the U.S. Marshals Service. His argument: the ATF has been marred by high-profile blunders and it has missions overlap with other agencies. Jon Adler is national president of the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association. He took a different view on In Depth with guest host Jared Serbu.

Friday - 07/11/2014, 04:44pm EDT
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Pending threats: Separating the sharks from the minnows

Thanks to summertime and the upcoming election, even the most anti-bureaucrat politicians have called a time out in their whack-a-fed agendas. But there are some real threats out there.

Friday - 07/11/2014, 03:30pm EDT

House panel debates merits of Senior Exec Service, comes down hard on VA

In examining the viability of the Senior Executive Service, House members called out the Veterans Affairs' compensation program, with a pledge to introduce another piece of legislation to take back bonuses. The Senior Executives Association relayed concerns that talent is fleeing senior executive positions.

Friday - 07/11/2014, 02:08pm EDT

Why a do-nothing Congress is good news for feds

The mid-term elections are upon us, and some people are complaining about political fatigue and gridlock. But for federal and postal workers - and retirees - these may be the good old days, Senior Correspondent Mike Causey says.

Friday - 07/11/2014, 02:00am EDT

House panel probes DoD's acquisition workforce

The size of DoD's civilian acquisition workforce has grown by some 20,000 employees over the past five years and now numbers about 135,000 personnel members, according to Stephanie Barna, acting assistant secretary of Defense for Readiness and Force Management. That's thanks to an effort by DoD begun in 2009 to recapitalize its acquisition workforce. But the department's focus on the acquisition workforce has been strained by a slew of competing priorities and congressionally-mandated belt-tightening, Barna said.

Thursday - 07/10/2014, 06:14pm EDT

Senate confirms Julian Castro as HUD secretary

The Senate easily confirmed San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro on Wednesday to head the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Wednesday - 07/09/2014, 05:30pm EDT

Rep. Donald Payne, Jr. (D-NJ)

For the Department of Homeland Security, making its 22 components' radio systems interoperable with one another has been an objective since the department was created in 2003. But today, DHS still can't account for all of its communications assets -- let alone get them to talk to each other. Last night, the House passed legislation designed to get things moving. Rep. Donald Payne (D-NJ) is the ranking member of the House Subcommittee on Emergency Preparedness and the prime sponsor of the DHS Interoperable Communications Act. He explained the details of the bill on In Depth with Francis Rose.

Wednesday - 07/09/2014, 05:06pm EDT
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House passes bills tackling DHS communications during disasters

Legislation passed by the House creates a social media working group for the Department of Homeland Security, and adds in requirements and accountability processes to improve interoperability across the agency.

Wednesday - 07/09/2014, 12:53pm EDT

Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.)

The Senate's to-do list this week includes the next steps on information technology contracting reform and enhancing the role of the Chief Information Officer at federal agencies. But the Senate is playing catch-up: the House has already passed its version of the Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act. Congressman Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) is a cosponsor of FITARA. He explained on In Depth with Francis Rose what he likes about the Senate version and what he wants to change.

Tuesday - 07/08/2014, 04:46pm EDT
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Justin Sink, White House Correspondent, The Hill Newspaper

Congress returns this week to confront a number of issues that need immediate action. President Obama is asking for an additional $2 billion to help deal with the flood of unaccompanied minors. And time is ticking away for lawmakers to replenish the Highway Trust Fund, which is set to run out of money at the end of August. The Hill's White House Correspondent, Justin Sink, joined Tom Temin on the Federal Drive to give a round up on what's going on this week.

Tuesday - 07/08/2014, 10:54am EDT
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