Members of Congress are talking a lot about civil service reform these days. A bill introduced in the Senate, called the Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act, would put most managers under title 38, taking away some civil service protections. Bob Tobias, a professor in the Key Executive Leadership program at American University, joined Federal Drive with Tom Temin to discuss the long view.
The Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act, which senators introduced last week, may have more momentum than previous bills. It now has 12 co-sponsors, including four Democrats and VA Secretary David Shulkin himself. Yet some federal employee groups and experts question whether the new bill has the teeth to truly tackle long entrenched cultural problems at the department.
Based on what’s happened so far in 2017, budget expert Stan Collender said the administration is already behind schedule on budgets and appropriations as far ahead as 2019, and the tactics Republican lawmakers are using make catching up unlikely.
The Senate is now in its second week since the firing of former FBI Director James Comey and is still in a bind. David Hawkings, senior editor of Roll Call, joined Federal Drive with Tom Temin to discuss the likeliness that the chamber will be able to get things done regarding confirmations or any other business.
Open government and press organizations are fighting back against the new communications policy the chairman of the House Financial Services Committee recently set between his committee and the Treasury Department. The new policy says any communication between the committee and the department will be considered a “congressional record” and therefore isn’t subject to the Freedom of Information Act.
Late as it is, the 2017 spending bill could provide a lot of work for federal contractors, even if it doesn’t contain money for a border wall. Larry Allen, president of Allen Federal Business Partners, joined Federal Drive with Tom Temin to provide more of an assessment. He also discussed the same legislation in a recent blog.
In today’s Federal Newscast, the Congressional Budget Office gives agency budget directors a bit of good news.
Congress is never finished with the Veterans Affairs Department. Fresh after extending the Choice Act, the House has passed a bill to overhaul the way VA recruits, trains and retains its staff. Rep. Brad Wenstrup (R-Ohio), a member of the Veterans Affairs Committee, joined Federal Drive with Tom Temin to go more in depth on this potential legislation.
The Cloud Center of Excellence this week will release a draft best practices guide that will give agency contracting officers, chief information officers and CFOs a new way of thinking about and buying cloud services.
The House Armed Services Committee is expected to release its first version of the 2018 Defense Authorization bill this week and in it many observers predict provisions to make it easier for the military to buy commercial items.
Amy Northcutt, the National Science Foundation’s chief information officer, died on May 6 after a short illness. The General Services Administration starts to fill political roles.
The Joint Chiefs of Staff are rehashing some controversial personnel reform ideas from the Obama administration.
Members of the Senate have reached a long awaited agreement on new accountability procedures for senior executives and employees within the Veterans Affairs Department. A bipartisan group of senators introduced the Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act Thursday morning. It would change current disciplinary appeals rights for both SES and rank-and-file employees.
A survey finds inspectors general worried about the hiring freeze and budget cuts that could cost more money than they would save.
Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), the ranking member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Subcommittee on Regulatory Affairs and Federal Management, said she and subcommittee and Chairman James Lankford (R-Okla) will make civil service reform a major focus this year. She and Lankford are looking for ideas that attack the root causes of some of the most challenging problems facing the federal workforce.