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Tuesday federal headlines - December 16, 2014

The Federal Headlines is a daily compilation of the stories you hear discussed on Federal News Radio each day. It is designed to give FederalNewsRadio.com readers more information about the stories heard on the radio. In today's news, the Veterans Affairs Department is getting some help from IBM's Watson, the Senate confirms Dr. Vivek Murthy as U.S. Surgeon General and Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) blocks a bill that aims to reduce the number of veteran suicides.

Tags: newscasts , In Depth

Tuesday - 12/16/2014, 08:30am EST

John Palguta, Vice President for Policy, Partnership for Public Service

The 114th Congress convenes on Tuesday, Jan. 6, with some new faces yet to be voted in for important oversights roles such as chairman for the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee and Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. John Palguta is the vice president for policy at the Partnership for Public Service. He joined the Federal Drive with Tom Temin to discuss what federal employees should expect in 2015 - from senior executives to civil service reform.

Tags: John Palguta , Partnership for Public Service , Tom Temin , House Oversight and Government Reform Committee , Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee , workforce , Congress

Tuesday - 12/16/2014, 08:00am EST
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David Wise, Director of Physical Infrastructure Issues, GAO

A Veterans Affairs hospital construction project is shaping up to be a classic failure. Late and over-budget, the billion dollar Denver facility is only 62 percent complete. And now a court rules, the contractor could legally walk away from the whole thing. Judges for the Civilian Board of Contract Appeals say the VA has acted in bad faith. This mess has not escaped notice of the Government Accountability Office. David Wise, the director of physical infrastructure issues at GAO, joined Tom Temin on the Federal Drive to explain more of what went wrong and whether it can be salvaged.

Tags: David Wise , Physical Infrastructure Issues , Veterans Affairs , Civilian Board of Contract Appeals , hospitals , Tom Temin , contracting , Denver

Tuesday - 12/16/2014, 07:49am EST
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Bill Evanina, Director, National Counterintelligence and Security Center

Now that all of the people have been gathered at the National Counterintelligence and Security Center, the work begins on building the same mindset. The new center houses ODNI employees, detailees from 15 agencies and contractors. What are they doing? For answers, we turn to Bill Evanina, the National Counterintellgence Executive (NCIX) and director of the National Counterintelligence and Security Center. On the Federal Drive, he told Tom Temin how the Center is working to prevent bad actors from getting security clearances, and making sure cleared people don't stay cleared if they no longer qualify.

Tags: Bill Evanina , National Counterintelligence and Security Center , ODNI , Tom Temin ,

Tuesday - 12/16/2014, 07:38am EST
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Baylee Crone, National Coalition for Homeless Veterans

Nearly one in three homeless veterans calling a Veterans Affairs help hotline was sent to voicemail in fiscal 2013. That's just one of the issues uncovered in an Inspector General's report on the VA National Call Center for Homeless Veterans. The VA has pledged to make changes to the call center. But as the temperatures dip, what other challenges lie ahead in supporting homeless vets? Baylee Crone, executive director at the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans, joined Tom Temin on the Federal Drive with the latest on these problems and details on her testimony before the House Veterans Affairs Committee.

Tags: Baylee Crone , National Coalition for Homeless Veterans , Tom Temin , Veterans Affairs , inspector general , call centers

Tuesday - 12/16/2014, 12:01am EST
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Monday federal headlines - December 15, 2014

The Federal Headlines is a daily compilation of the stories you hear discussed on Federal News Radio each day. It is designed to give FederalNewsRadio.com readers more information about the stories heard on the radio. In today's news, the Postal Service says today is its busiest mailing day of the year, the Senate over the weekend agreed to a $1.1 trillion 2015 spending bill now awaiting President Obama's signature and Congress passes a bill to crack down on overtime pay at Customs and Border Protection.

Tags: newscasts , In Depth

Monday - 12/15/2014, 07:47am EST

Larry Korb, Senior Fellow, Center for American Progress

Congress is capping the pensions of top military officials in 2015. As part of National Defense Authorization Act, pensions for generals and admirals will be trimmed to ensure they make no more in retirement than they did on active duty. That reverses a 2007 law designed to help retain officers during wartime. What effects, if any, will this have on the military's ability to retain its senior officers? Larry Korb is a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress and former assistant secretary of Defense for manpower and reserve affairs. He joined Tom Temin on the Federal Drive with a look at this measure.

Tags: Larry Korb , Tom Temin , NDAA , DoD , budget , retirement , pay and benefit

Monday - 12/15/2014, 09:55am EST
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Julia Ziegler, Web Manager, Federal News Radio

Feds are not holding back when it comes to sharing their thoughts on the President's plans to reform the Senior Executive Service. Federal News Radio's web team put out a questionnaire, asking them what they think of the SES proposals. We've collected some of their comments. Tom Temin, host of the Federal Drive, spoke with web manager Julia Ziegler about the varying opinions.

Tags: Julia Ziegler , Tom Temin , SES reforms , Barack Obama

Friday - 12/12/2014, 10:25am EST
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Friday federal headlines - December 12, 2014

The Federal Headlines is a daily compilation of the stories you hear discussed on Federal News Radio each day. It is designed to give FederalNewsRadio.com readers more information about the stories heard on the radio. In today's news, tension between the executive and legislative branches took a new twist, Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) says farewell to his colleagues and Congress approves a bill to automatically enroll new federal employees in the Thrift Savings Plan's lifecycle funds.

Tags: newscasts , In Depth

Friday - 12/12/2014, 08:38am EST

Mark Geyer, Orion Program Manager, NASA

NASA's Orion is on her way home for the holidays. The spacecraft is being transported to Kennedy Space Center in Florida after a successful first test flight, splashdown, and recovery. Orion will be examined and disassembled so NASA researchers can prepare for the next stage of its Space Launch Systems programs. Mark Geyer is the Orion program manager at NASA. He joined Tom Temin on the Federal Drive with details on what comes next.

Tags: Mark Geyer , NASA , Orion , Space Launch Systems , Tom Temin ,

Friday - 12/12/2014, 10:44am EST
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