Rep. McCaul one step closer to introducing DHS reorganization bill

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

  • Female airmen serving in the Air Force can now request separation from service up to a year after having a baby. The branch says this will give them more time to better understand and assess how they can balance a military career and family needs. Before the change, pregnant airmen had to choose whether to leave or stay in the service before childbirth. (Federal News Radio)
  • Federal auditors have said inspectors general reports need to be taken more seriously when it comes to the implementation of the DATA Act. The Government Accountability Office warned the Treasury Department and Office of Management and Budget that they both need ways to assess IG reports on agency compliance when it comes to standardizing federal spending information. (Government Accountability Office)
  • The National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association has a new executive director. NARFE National President Richard Thissen announced the appointment of Barbara Sido to the association. She has more than 20 years of leadership experience at national, state and local associations. She’s also worked at the Labor Department. Sido will run the stratetgic and operational activities at NARFE. (National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association)
  • The Labor Department has got a new secretary while the Food and Drug Administration is a step closer to having a new boss as well. The Senate confirmed Alex Acosata as the new secretary of labor. Acosta has been a federal prosecutor, a civil rights chief at the Justice Department and a member of the National Labor Relations Board. Meanwhile, Reuters reports the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee voted to send Dr. Scott Gottlieb’s nomination as FDA commissioner to the full Senate. Gottlieb served as a deputy FDA commissioner during the George W. Bush administration.
  • Support grows for changing how DHS manages federal cybersecurity. Rep. Mike McCaul (R-Texas) is getting even closer to introducing a bill to reorganize the Homeland Security Department. McCaul said he received comments from the White House on his draft bill to create a new cybersecurity agency in DHS. The White House comments were one of the final steps before introducing the bill. McCasaid the administration mostly offered tweaks to the legislation’s language and overall supports the idea of a new stand-alone cyber component. McCaul has made creating this new cyber agency one of his top priorities for 2017.
  • President Donald Trump said the executive order he signed setting up a new Office of Accountability and Whistleblower Protection at Veterans Affairs is the first of many reforms coming to the department. VA has announced a new task force on waste, fraud and abuse. It’s also starting a comprehensive review of its capital assets and facilities. And it partnered with the Health and Human Services Department. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps officer will treat veterans at some VA facilities. (Federal News Radio)
  • House Armed Services Chairman Mac Thornberry (R-Texas) said he’ll be releasing his yearly defense acquisition reforms soon. Thornberry has proposed changes to the defense acquisition system for the past two years. Thornberry did not hint at what this year’s reforms might focus on. Last year, Congress completely overhauled the Defense Department’s acquisition office. (Federal News Radio)
  • The chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee is asking the Army to determine whether President Trump’s former national security advisor broke the law by accepting payments from foreign governments. In a Thursday letter, Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) told Acting Army Secretary Robert Speer that his committee has seen no evidence that Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn complied with laws that require advance permission before retired military officers take payments from foreign sources. He said Flynn seems to have done so at least twice — $45,000 from a Russian source; $530,000 from a Turkish one. If that’s the case, federal law and DoD policies would require Flynn to repay those funds directly to the U.S. government. (Federal News Radio)