As its time grows shorter, Congress’ agenda seems to grow longer. Yet members appear ready to head off to their August recess soon, and the long-term absence of Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) because of his cancer diagnosis changes the calculus. Roll Call Senior Editor David Hawkings offers his take on Federal Drive with Tom Temin.
Three Republican lawmakers introduced an amendment to a “minibus” of four appropriations bills that would eliminate the Budget Analysis Division of the Congressional Budget Office, and therefore the positions and salaries of 89 employees at CBO. It’s the first time members of Congress have used the Holman Rule since the House reinstated it back in January.
Senior Correspondent Mike Causey says if it’s true that all politics is local, D.C. feds may get a major political assist from beyond-the-Beltway feds that could save their retirement plan.
The House will vote this week on a bill that would replenish the Veterans Choice Fund with an additional $2 billion. But to offset the costs, VA would continue to collect housing loan fees and would trim pensions for some veterans living in nursing facilities that are covered under Medicaid.
Rep. Todd Rokita (R-Ind.) reintroduced the Promote Accountability and Government Efficiency (PAGE) Act after a similar bill died in the previous Congress. The legislation would give agencies the authority to remove or suspend new employees “without notice or right to appeal, from service by the head of the agency at which such employee is employed for good cause, bad cause or no cause at all.”
Companies selling to the Defense Department may be overlooking something serious under consideration by Congress. That’s a provision in the 2018 Defense authorization bill to stop DoD agencies from buying off the General Services Administration’s multiple award schedule. But sellers should never leave to chance which vehicle their customers use. Larry Allen, president of Allen Federal Business Partners, shares more on Federal Drive with Tom Temin.
Have you seen the pay-more-get-less pension package Congress is preparing for federal workers and retirees? Senior Correspondent Mike Causey says you’d better check it out.
AT&T and FirstNet say they are working to secure traffic on the first responder network, and are building a fleet of cell tower trucks ready for deployment.
Both the Trump administration and Congress are offering new goals to cut government improper payments over the next five to 10 years. Experts in the field say the targets aren’t impossible but need attention and investments in agency technology and personnel.
Slew of bills helping the Veterans Affairs Department shows how much Congress can get done within a limited scope.
This week, the Senate confirmed a new deputy secretary of Defense, four more prospective DoD officials underwent their confirmation hearings, and the White House settled on candidates for two more Pentagon political appointees. But 30 of the department’s political jobs still have no nominees.
An investigation by the Office of Special Counsel Hatch Act found that from September to November 2016, 97 letter carriers took more than 2,700 total days off to participate in political campaigns.
Restoring veterans’ trust and mending gaps between the department’s headquarters and its employees in the field are top priorities for Tom Bowman, the president’s nominee to be the deputy VA secretary.
Air Force civilians can now start working part-time while taking some of their retirement annuity.
The Trump administration got off to a slow start in nominating people to important jobs. Now President Donald Trump is picking up the pace of nominations, only to have the Senate take its sweet time to confirm them. The lingering policy vacancies leave career employees wondering and now the holes are starting to worry contractors. Sam Skolnik, Bloomberg BNA senior reporter, offers insight on Federal Drive with Tom Temin.