Reps. Don Beyer and Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) haven’t forgotten about rising premium rates to the Federal Long Term Care Program, and they certainly haven’t forgotten about the Office of Personnel Management’s response when asked what the agency planned to do about rising costs.
House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Ranking Member Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) and Government Operations Subcommittee Chairman Mark Meadows introduced the TSP Modernization Act, which would give participants in the Thrift Savings Plan more options and flexibility to withdraw from their accounts. It’s a companion bill to the legislation Sens. Tom Carper (D-Del.) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio.) introduced in April.
Senators sent the Congressional Budget Office a series of questions related to its recent study comparing federal employee compensation to the private sector. But senators won’t find much clarity or many concrete conclusions from CBO’s responses.
As the continuous diagnostics and mitigation program enters its fourth year, the Homeland Security Department is considering how it can utilize the cloud for both agency and federal dashboards. DHS is expected the launch the federal dashboard later this summer.
The Veterans Affairs Department will immediately get rid of 71 vacant or nearly empty facilities. VA will eliminate another 71 buildings within the next six months. It’s part of the department’s long term effort to trim its inventory of outdated, underutilized or vacant buildings within the next two years.
It’s been a busy couple of months for the Veterans Affairs Department. But VA Secretary David Shulkin said he wouldn’t have it any other way. He’s pushing the VA workforce to embrace risk and begin making bold, fundamental changes to the way it does business. He said he sees the VA Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act as one bold change that will improve the department’s employee morale and recruitment efforts.
The Office of Personnel Management is warning federal annuitants of a second scam this year. This time, companies are offering cash payments in exchange for all or part of a federal employee’s future annuity payment. OPM’s Office of Inspector General is also continuing its 30-year push to get Congress to include the Federal Employee Health Benefits Program (FEHBP) in the Anti-Kickback Statute.
Congress is in the beginning stages of reauthorizing the Homeland Security Department for the first and only time in the past 15 years. The reauthorization bill specifically codifies key positions in the department and streamlines and eliminates others.
About 100 House Democrats wrote to Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), voicing their opposition over the president’s four major proposed changes to federal retirement. The administration included the proposals in the fiscal 2018 budget proposal and would have a significant impact on both current and future federal employees and retirees.
Agency leaders are reviewing tens of thousands of comments from their employees and the public on ways to make government more effective and efficient. In speaking with their workforces about their ideas, most leaders say the focus has generally been on how the agency can better deliver the mission and services to the public, not on forthcoming personnel cuts.
The Veterans Affairs Department once again needs congressional authority to transfer funds from one account to another to keep the Veterans Choice Program running for the rest of fiscal 2017. VA Secretary David Shulkin says the issue emphasizes the need to redesign the program, yet Congress has its concerns about the viability of Choice in the near and long term future.
The Office of Management and Budget is expected to release a new memo later this week, which will describe an initial review of existing requirements and reporting burdens that the administration believes agencies can scale back.
The House will pass the VA Accountability First and Whistleblower Protection Act, clearing the way for the President to sign the bill later this week. Some lawmakers and veterans service organizations see the bill’s passage as a major win after years of debate over new accountability legislation. But federal employee groups say the bill would do more harm than good.
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) blasted a recent opinion from the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel, which urges executive branches to respond only to inquires from congressional committee chairman. Some Cabinet-level secretaries have said they would not abide by the OLC policy.
An Office of Special Counsel investigation recently found that Dan Scavino, Jr., the White House director of social media, violated the Hatch Act when he tweeted about Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) ahead of the primary election.