NASA proposes new rule to reward good contractors

The Federal Headlines is a daily compilation of the stories you hear discussed on Federal Drive with Tom Temin.

In today’s Top Federal Headlines, the space agency wants to give contractors who perform well on a consistent basis an award for doing so.

  • Federal employees are getting a new administrative leave policy. The 2017 National Defense Authorization Act limits the number of days feds can spend on leave while waiting for the results of a personnel investigation to 10. Agencies can extend leave for 30 more days at a time. But they can’t wait longer than 90 days. It also creates new categories of administrative leave. They differentiate between employees on investigative leave and those who take leave for weather or safety reasons. (Federal News Radio)
  • President Barack Obama is giving federal employees a small parting gift. He is increasing the pay raise for civilian agency employees so that it equals what Defense Department employees are getting. Obama sent a new letter to Congress directing all agencies to give employees a 2.1 percent pay raise for fiscal 2017. The new order supersedes the one he signed on Nov. 29 calling for a 1.6 percent pay raise for next year when combined with locality pay. (Federal News Radio)
  • A proposed rule from NASA looks to reward contractors for good work. The agency wants to give “award terms” or additional contract periods of performance to contractors whose sustained performance is deemed excellent. NASA said  this will provide a non-monetary incentive for contractors to perform well, and create more stable business relationships for contractors and their employees. (Federal Register)
  • We could see the government shut down over the weekend if the Senate can’t come to a compromise. Democrats are threatening to let government funding run out at the end of Friday if two amendments, concerning health care for retired coal miners and the use of American steel in water projects, aren’t adopted in the CR passed by the House yesterday. (Federal News Radio)
  • Defense Department officials want to change the way some military reservists fulfill their mandatory weekend training. Assistant Defense Secretary for Manpower and Reserve Affairs Todd Weiler said DoD will encourage President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team to consider more flexible options for reserve forces to train, in an effort to boost recruitment and retainment. (Federal News Radio)
  • The Defense Health Agency is about to get a lot bigger as it takes charge of more than 400 hospitals and clinics. The changes are part of the Defense authorization bill Congress sent to the President’s desk yesterday. Members said the Army, Air Force and Navy were running three separate health care systems that duplicated one another. The bill orders DHA to appoint a civilian leader with experience running private sector health systems to oversee the military ones. It also sets up new ways to manage contracting and information technology. (Federal News Radio)
  • DATA Act implementation hits more speed bumps. Government auditors said agencies continue to have problems with a lack of guidance and more complex reporting requirements for standardizing federal spending reports. Officials with the Treasury Department and Office of Management and Budget say the data won’t be perfect, or fully complete by its May deadline. (Federal News Radio)
  • Twelve government apps to help you get through the holiday season The departments of State and Veterans Affairs, and the Postal Service are among the agencies offering apps to make it easier for citizens to travel and celebrate the holiday season. The CIO Council is highlighting 12 days of apps in an effort to promote the digital services of the government. USPS, for instance, has an app to make it easier to send packages around the country. The Agriculture Department lets you Ask Karen about food safety. And, of course, no holiday season is complete without NORAD’s Santa tracker, so the kids can see when the sleigh and reindeer are heading in their direction on Dec. 24. (
  • Deaf and hearing-impaired people get a shot at federal jobs in the agriculture sector. USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service and Gallaudet University signed a memorandum of understanding. Its goal is to boost the number of students and graduates who apply for internships and full-time jobs. The Agricultural Marketing Service helps food and specialty crops producers with sales. Gallaudet, located in the District of Columbia, provides college education in English and American Sign Language. (Gallaudet University)