Shows & Panels
- The 2014 Big Picture on Cyber Security
- AFCEA Answers
- Ask the CIO
- Connected Government: How to Build and Procure Network Services for the Future
- Continuing Diagnostics and Mitigation: Discussion of Progress and Next Steps
- Federal Executive Forum
- Federal Tech Talk
- The Intersection: Where Technology Meets Transformation
- Maximizing ROI Through Data Center Consolidation
- Moving to the Cloud. What's the best approach for me
- Navigating Tough Choices in Government Cloud Computing
- The New Generation of Database
- Satellite Communications: Acquiring SATCOM in Tight Times
- Transformative Technology: Desktop Virtualization in Government
- Value of Health IT
Shows & Panels
Jack Moore is a web editor and general assignment reporter for Federal News Radio.
A new bill would repeal reductions in military pensions approved by Congress late last month as part of the bipartisan budget deal and allow the U.S. Postal Service to reduce regular mail delivery to five days a week. Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), the chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, introduced the legislation Dec. 19, shortly before Congress decamped for the holidays.
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has already set about implementing a plan to cut $1 billion from the Defense Department's budget by consolidating and reorganizing top Pentagon offices, but lawmakers want to hold his feet to the fire. The final version of the National Defense Authorization Act passed by Congress Dec. 19 enshrines DoD's ambitious cost-cutting and streamlining plan into law.
The slight 1 percent increase ordered by President Barack Obama last month is smaller than union advocates had pushed for, but it's the first time since 2010 most civilian employees will see a bump in their basic rate of pay. Still, the modest pay raise only applies to white-collar employees under the General Schedule system. Some 200,000 blue-collar federal workers at places such as the Defense and Veterans Affairs Department and the U.S. Bureau of Prisons, will not see a similar increase in pay.
Are you a federal employee who uses public transportation to get to work? Be prepared to shell out more for your commute. Because of congressional inaction, a tax subsidy for mass-transit commuters is set to drop nearly in half — from a maximum of $245 a month to $130.
From technology failures to shrinking budgets, 2013 was a turbulent year for the federal government. Click through the gallery to view the top 11 federal stories of 2013.
Under federal "use it or lose it" rules, any unspent money employees set aside last year to pay for out-of-pocket health costs, such as prescriptions or co-pays, is forfeited at the end of the year. But a group of senators from states surrounding the Washington, D.C., area, wants to change that. Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) along with Sens. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), Mark Warner (D-Va.) and Tim Kaine (D-Va.) wrote to Katherine Archuleta, the head of the Office of Personnel Management, requesting the agency implement new regulations that would allow federal employees to roll over as much as $500 in unused funds from year to year.
Todd Grams, the chief of staff of the Internal Revenue Service, announced Friday he's retiring after 34 years of federal service, according to a note to staff obtained by Federal News Radio. Grams was named IRS chief of staff in June at the request of Acting Commissioner Danny Werfel in the wake of a leadership shakeup following revelations the agency had improperly targeted conservative groups for extra scrutiny.
The number of federal employees deemed eligible to telework nearly doubled last year. All told, nearly half of the entire federal workforce - more than 1 million employees - has been determined to be eligible to telework, according to an annual report to Congress from the Office of Personnel Management. OPM's report, the second since President Barack Obama signed the Telework Enhancement Act of 2010, also noted sizable gains in the number of agencies with telework policies in place, in the number employees who signed telework agreements governing their work outside the office and in the frequency with which they telework.
The gap in pay between federal employees and private-sector workers widened slightly this year, according to data presented at the annual meeting of the Federal Salary Council. On average, federal employees earn 35.37 percent less than their private-sector counterpart, according to data from the Office of Personnel Management and the Labor Department's Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Federal employees could soon be seeing a lot less of the G Fund in their Thrift Savings plan accounts. Instead of being automatically enrolled solely in government securities, new plan participants would be shifted to an age-appropriate Lifecycle, or L, Fund as their default investing option under a proposal approved by the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board Monday. The proposal ultimately requires action by Congress.
The bipartisan budget deal announced this week goes a long way toward clearing up the widespread budget uncertainty that has plagued federal agencies for the last two years. But it doesn't actually set individual agency funding for next year. That's the job of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees, the leaders of whom now must write an official spending bill that spell out exactly how much each agency gets to spend next year and on what. Rep. Hal Rogers (R-Ky.), the chairman of the House committee, said Thursday he would begin work on an omnibus spending bill to fund agencies next year.
Tucked away inside the bipartisan budget deal announced with much fanfare this week is a proposal limiting the maximum level contractors can charge the government to pay the salaries of their top executives to nearly half of what it is currently. But it may not be the final word on the issue on the sticky issue of contractor compensation. the budget deal's proposed changes to taxpayer-funded contractor salaries are competing with another piece of bipartisan legislation currently before Congress. The annual Defense Authorization Act seeks to lower the compensation limit but by far less than the budget deal.
Lawmakers in districts with large constituencies of federal employees are signaling their support for the bipartisan budget deal announced Tuesday even though it would require new federal workers to contribute a greater share of their paychecks to their retirement benefits. The alternatives -- another government shutdown or a second year of the steep across-the-board sequestration cuts -- would have been worse, they argue.
If the proposed budget deal becomes law, new federal workers will see a total of 10.6 percent of their salaries automatically withheld from their paychecks to cover their retirement benefits. That could lead to them contributing less or not at all to their voluntary Thrift Savings Plan accounts, experts said.
Newly hired federal workers will be required to contribute more toward their pensions and some military retirees will see smaller cost-of-living adjustments under a budget deal announced by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) Tuesday evening. The budget deal, which sets funding levels for the next two years, eases some of the bite of the automatic spending cuts, known as sequestration. The pact restores about $63 billion to agency spending through the end of fiscal 2015, split about evenly between Defense and civilian agencies.
John Koskinen, President Barack Obama's pick to lead the embattled Internal Revenue Service, pledged to restore public trust in the agency following the recent uproar over revelations of purported political bias by IRS employees. Speaking before the Senate Finance Committee Tuesday morning, Koskinen also said he'd work to turn around the declining employee morale.
When the Office of Personnel Management makes the decision to close federal offices in the Washington, D.C. region because of snow, federal employees outside the area often deride inside-the-Beltway feds for their weather wimpiness. But with hundreds of thousands of federal employees spread across the country, Federal News Radio wants to know: Does a D.C. snow day impact the work that you do — wherever you are?
Lawmakers, who face a self-imposed Friday deadline to come up with a fiscal 2014 budget plan, appear to be making progress toward a limited deal that would stave off another shutdown and give agencies the certainty of funding for the remainder of the year.But lawmakers with districts surrounding Washington, D.C. are preemptively speaking out against any proposal that, in their words, would "throw federal employees under the bus." Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va.), says that too often in the past federal employees' pay and benefits have "been used as pawns in budget negotiations."
Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) and Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), are jumpstarting a new effort to get both sides of the Capitol dome on board with a bill to make it easier for agencies to hang the "For Sale" sign outside their doors. Carper, the chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, and Chaffetz, a member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, hosted a Capitol Hill roundtable with private-sector real-estate experts and former government officials Wednesday to discuss a new legislative path forward.
The number of federal employees filing for retirement is on a downward swing. For the fifth month in a row, fewer federal employees than expected filed for retirement, according to new data from the Office of Personnel Management. However, OPM's efforts at processing federal-employee retirement applications also took a nosedive last month. OPM processed just 5,700 claims in November, less than half of what it predicted it would and nearly half the number of cases the agency cleared last month.