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- Cyber Solutions for 2013 and Beyond
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- Veterans in Private Sector: Making the Transition
Shows & Panels
Senate sets vote next week on budget legislation; passage expected
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.
Correction: Budget Battle story
Crunch time: Health care sign-ups picked up in November but still far short as deadline nears
The Veterans Affairs Department's decision comes as lawmakers are putting this acquisition concept under more scrutiny. House Veterans Affairs and Small Business Committee lawmakers question whether agencies are getting the best prices and whether they are sacrificing competition. GAO, other experts say OFPP needs to develop a governmentwide policy for reverse auctions.
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.
Congress is poised, for the first time since Dwight D. Eisenhower was president, to miss its deadline to pass the one policy bill that's been considered "must-pass" legislation under administrations of both parties. But the measure's only chance of success also torpedoes Pentagon proposals for cutting DoD's internal cost growth. Military personnel would receive a 1 percent pay raise next year.
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.
Obstacles on left and right for Congress' negotiators struggling to seal a federal budget deal
Rep. John Mica (R-Fla.), chairman of the House Oversight's Subcommittee on Government Operations, said the Federal Trade Commission and the General Services Administration are "thwarting" his proposal to force the FTC to relocate out of its historic headquarters building and into leased space in Southwest Washington, D.C.
Reps. Jim Bridenstine (R-Okla.) and Doug Lamborn (R-Colo.) introduced a bill Tuesday to cancel sequestration for the Defense Department for two years. The bill would offset this change by using a chained CPI to calculate COLAs for federal retirement programs along with other entitlement reforms.
Even as mystery surrounds the work of the House-Senate budget committee negotiating over fiscal 2014 funding levels and possible alternatives to devastating across-the-board budget cuts known as sequestration, there's consensus emerging about some of the potential bargaining chips the committee is likely to use. That includes requiring federal workers to contribute more of their salaries toward their pensions.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Automatic spending cuts largely barked about this year might bite in 2014