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11:58 pm, October 25, 2014

House News

House to vote on bill making it easier to fire VA senior execs

The House will soon vote on a measure making it easier for the Veterans Affairs secretary to fire or demote senior career executives at the department, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said at a Capitol Hill briefing Thursday. The VA Management Accountability Act allows the VA secretary to remove or demote members of the Senior Executive Service (SES) based on their performance.

Thursday - 04/03/2014, 05:19pm EDT

House budget seeks to up feds' retirement contributions

The budget blueprint unveiled by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) Tuesday includes a handful of proposals affecting the federal workforce that Ryan and House Republicans have championed in the past. Among them, the recommendation that federal employees contribute more of their salary toward their pensions and a proposal to shrink the federal workforce by 10 percent through attrition.

Tuesday - 04/01/2014, 12:54pm EDT

Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-N.Y.)

The Littoral Combat Ship program is in turmoil as Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel sets up a task force to look at alternatives to the LCS. That task force's recommendations could include a modified LCS system, an alternative system or continuing with the LCS as-is. Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen, chairman of the House Appropriations Defense Subcommittee, heard from leaders across the Navy and Marine Corps. In our Congressional Spotlight, he explains his concerns about the LCS.

Monday - 03/31/2014, 05:41pm EDT
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Is low employee morale 'compromising' the federal government?

In the wake of across-the-board budget cuts, furloughs and slim -- or no -- annual pay raises, the top Democrat on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee says he's concerned about a nose-dive in federal-employee morale. Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) is now asking the Government Accountability Office to look into recent trends in feds' job satisfaction. The lawmakers are concerned declining satisfaction "may be compromising the federal government's ability to serve the American people."

Friday - 03/28/2014, 10:58am EDT

House Dems push for larger pay raise for feds

House Democrats are pushing for federal employees to get a pay raise next year that's more than three times larger than President Barack Obama proposed. A bill introduced Wednesday by Reps. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) and Jim Moran (D-Va.) would provide federal employees with a 3.3 percent across-the-board pay raise in 2015.

Wednesday - 03/26/2014, 10:47am EDT

Army foresees another drop in military readiness if sequestration returns

The Army says it is now replacing funds in its readiness accounts that were depleted when cuts under sequestration first kicked in a year ago. But last year's readiness problems are likely to repeat in 2016 and beyond if Congress allows the automatic Defense cuts in current law to persist.

Wednesday - 03/26/2014, 04:09am EDT
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Issa threatens subpoena over real property data

Reps. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), the chairman of the oversight committee, and John Mica (R-Fla.), chairman of the Government Operations subcommittee, want OMB to provide data to the committee on excess federal properties valued at $50 million or more. The committee has been seeking this information for more than two years, "yet these requests have consistently gone unfulfilled," Issa and Mica wrote in a March 24 letter to OMB Director Sylvia Burwell.

Tuesday - 03/25/2014, 05:07pm EDT

GOP lawmakers seek updated 'official time' report

Two Republican members of the House want to know how many hours federal employees are spending on union-related business while on the job. Reps. Dennis Ross (R-Fla.) and Phil Gingrey (R-Ga.) wrote to Office of Personnel Management Director Katherine Archuleta urging the agency to release updated data on employees' use of "official time." The most recent year for which data is available is from 2011.

Tuesday - 03/25/2014, 02:37pm EDT

Peter Gosselin, senior health care analyst, Bloomberg Government

The administration considers cutting IT spending to fund Obamacare.

Friday - 03/21/2014, 10:46am EDT
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What can USPS learn from TRICARE in funding retiree health care costs?

As lawmakers consider efforts to shore up the Postal Service's financial footing, there's still widespread disagreement over whether the current requirement for the agency prefunding requirement is fiscally responsible, as Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-Texas) argued during a House Oversight and Government Reform subcommittee hearing Thursday, or an "onerous mandate" only required of the Postal Service, as Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-Mass.) contended.

Friday - 03/14/2014, 02:48pm EDT

Senate bill would combine, eliminate 300-plus federal reports

Legislation newly introduced in the Senate proposes to scrap hundreds of unneeded, outdated or repetitive reports. The House, meanwhile, is marking up its own version of the bill.

Wednesday - 03/12/2014, 03:47pm EDT

House committee OKs bill making TSP's L Funds the default for new hires

New Thrift Savings Plan participants would be automatically enrolled in an age-appropriate Lifecycle Fund -- instead of the G Fund -- under a bill set to be debated Wednesday by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. The Smart Savings Act, introduced by the committee's chairman, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), is supported by the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board.

Tuesday - 03/11/2014, 04:14pm EDT

Inside the DoD Reporter's Notebook: DoD's even-more-complicated-than-usual budget request

Federal News Radio's DoD Reporter Jared Serbu offers news tidbits and buzz about the Defense Department.

Monday - 03/10/2014, 04:05am EDT

Even defense hawks are pessimistic about DoD 2015 request for extra funds

The Obama administration says the Defense Department needs an additional $26 billion in excess of next year's Defense spending caps in order to carry out DoD's mission. But even the staunchest defenders of the Pentagon budget on Capitol Hill acknowledge that the extra funding is unlikely to materialize.

Friday - 03/07/2014, 03:52am EST
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Pentagon, Senate lawmakers already at odds over 2015 budget cuts

DoD's cost savings proposals for 2015 and beyond include something for every lawmaker to hate. The process of selling the budget on Capitol Hill officially kicked off Wednesday, and the reception was not exceptionally warm.

Thursday - 03/06/2014, 04:12am EST
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Former IRS official refuses to testify at hearing

Former IRS official Lois Lerner refuses to testify at House hearing on tea party targeting

Thursday - 03/06/2014, 01:22am EST

GAO seeks budget hike to restore staffing from rock-bottom levels

The Government Accountability Office is requesting about $525 million for fiscal 2015, an increase of about 4 percent, or $19 million, above current levels. The additional funding would allow the agency to continue staffing up the agency from the nearly rock-bottom levels it hit over the past few years. The additional funding would also allow GAO to make upgrades to its aging IT infrastructure and do long-deferred building upkeep and and maintenance

Wednesday - 03/05/2014, 04:33pm EST

Feds should not shoulder the burden of deficit reduction

Federal employees continue to be Congress' go-to resource for deficit reduction through pay freezes and increases in their retirement contributions, according to Congressman Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.). Van Hollen's column is part of Federal News Radio's special report, Now or Never: Ideas to Save the Failing Budget Process.

Tuesday - 03/04/2014, 02:00am EST

Will IRS budget pleas be ignored in Congress?

IRS Commissioner John Koskinen told members of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government that budget and staffing reductions are impacting the agency's core missions of customer service and tax collection. The agency projects it will only be able to answer 61 percent of phone calls this year, meaning some 20 million phone calls will go unanswered. Meanwhile, taxpayers attempting to reach IRS offices are facing wait times that stretch past 20 minutes.

Thursday - 02/27/2014, 04:18pm EST

Rep. Graves tries again to increase small business contracting goals

The chairman of the Small Business Committee plans to introduce two bills today. One will increase the governmentwide small business prime contracting goal to 25 percent from 23 percent. The other focuses on contract bundling and data transparency.

Wednesday - 02/26/2014, 09:04am EST
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