A group representing scientists has come out against provisions of the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act that force senior executives to share their personal investments in an online database, calling the requirements an unfair and unnecessary invasion of privacy.
Washington approached an unhappy Fourth of July on Tuesday with frustration building over the pace of power restoration, forecasts warning of more high temperatures and storms, and thousands of residents starting a fourth miserable day without air conditioning. Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) warned at a late-morning news conference that the state is still in “the most difficult part of this event,” and he urged the public to look after their neighbors who were without air conditioning, particularly senior citizens.
For whatever reason, members of Congress in both chambers and both parties and a Senate committee approved separate pieces of legislation Friday that would give federal employees reason for the unusual experience of applauding Capitol Hill. The House and Senate approved a broad-based bill that includes a provision allowing phased retirement for federal employees. They would be able to work part-time after retirement, with their salaries and annuities pro-rated.
The Government Accountability Office has turned back a protest over a multibillion dollar contract to administer part of the military’s TRICARE health insurance system, the losing bidder said Monday. Phoenix-based TriWest Healthcare Alliance petitioned GAO in March following the Defense Department’s award of the $20.6 billion, six-year contract to rival UnitedHealth Military and Veterans Services. The Comptroller General’s decision was not publicly released as of Monday afternoon, but TriWest officials said they had been notified of the rejection.
Storm-related outages at an Amazon data center in Ashburn prompted some congressional officials on Monday to question whether the federal government is moving too swiftly to put important data on private-sector cloud computing servers. The outages affected companies such as Netflix and Pinterest, not the government. But several federal agencies have moved e-mail and other services to cloud servers, which are housed at remote data centers and typically managed by technology companies such as Amazon or Google.
The Small Business Administration on Tuesday released its annual score card on federal contract dollars won by small businesses, reporting that contractors meeting the eligibility criteria were awarded $91.5 billion in government work in fiscal 2011, or 21.65 percent of the total. Current law requires agencies to reach for a goal of awarding 23 percent of contract dollars to qualified small businesses. In the Obama administration’s first three years, SBA reported, the 24 major agencies awarded a total of $286.2 billion in contracts to small businesses, or 22.07 percent, just short of the target. SBA said this represented a $32 billion increase over the three preceding years even as contract spending dropped governmentwide.