Congressman wants name of every non-essential employee

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  • Rep. Ted Budd (R-N.C.) wants the name of every employee who is considered non-essential during a government shutdown. The Essential Act would require every agency to submit a list of all employees deemed non-essential to the Office of Management and Budget. After a shutdown, agencies would have to tell OMB who was furloughed along with their basic rate of pay. The bill is now before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. (
  • Federal offices in the D.C. area are closed today. With most of the region facing heavy winds, the Office of Personnel Management decided it would be safer to close offices for the day. Employees who are telework-ready and were scheduled to telework today must work the whole day or request leave. (Federal News Radio)
  • It’s taking agencies longer and longer to hire new federal employees. The average governmentwide time-to-hire crept up to 106 days in fiscal 2017, well above the governmentwide goal of 80 days. The Office of Personnel Management told lawmakers it’s still considering legislative proposals to improve the federal hiring process. OPM said the average increased every year since 2012. (Federal News Radio)
  • The head of the Defense Department’s advanced research arm is pushing back against claims the U.S. is losing its tactical edge on artificial intelligence. Steven Walker, director of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, said DARPA is currently testing out next-generation AI projects. He rejected claims made late last year by former Alphabet CEO Eric Schmidt, who said near-peer adversaries, like Russia and China, were catching up with the U.S on A.I. DARPA recently completed its half of an autonomous ship project with the Office of Naval Research. (Federal News Radio)
  • President Donald Trump’s pick for the next commander of U.S. Cyber Command told lawmakers the nation hasn’t done enough to deter countries like China and Russia from launching cyber attacks. Lt. Gen. Paul Nakasone, currently the commander of Army Cyber Command, said those nations are acting without fear and that cyber threats have grown exponentially. He sidestepped questions about what actions the U.S. should take to boost its cyber deterrence. (Associated Press)
  • The Office of Management and Budget named a seven-person board to oversee IT modernization plans. New federal Chief Information Officer Suzette Kent is the chairwoman of the board that will oversee the governmentwide Technology Modernization Fund. The interagency board will decide how to hand out the yet-to-be appropriated $228 million to quicken the pace of IT modernization. OMB announced the TMF Board yesterday. Along with Kent, Alan Thomas, the commissioner of Government Services Administration’s Federal Acquisition Service; Matt Cutts, the U.S. Digital Service’s acting administrator; and the CIOs from the Social Security Administration and Small Business Administration, and the chief technical officer from the Veterans Affairs Department are also on the board. The organization’s first meeting is March 12.
  • Rep. Nanette Diaz Barragán (D-Calif.) wants federal contractors to have sexual harassment training. The California Democrat introduced the Federal Contractor Anti-Harassment Training Act to require contractors to complete annual anti-harassment and anti-discrimination training. They could access federal employee training resources if needed. Barragan said the bill would send a strong message that sexual misconduct would not be tolerated in the federal government and would ensure that federal contractors are providing training to prevent harassment in the workplace. (Rep. Nanette Diaz Barragan)
  • Leadership on the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee wants to know how the Transportation Security Administration punishes its senior executives. The Homeland Security Department’s inspector general said TSA granted one executive unusually favorable treatment during the disciplinary process. Chairman Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) and Ranking Member Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) are concerned front-line employees are being silenced. (Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee)
  • The Homeland Security Department inspector general has a bone to pick with the chief information officer at FEMA. The IG issued an alert. It urged Chief Information Officer Adrian Gardner to act on five of six information technology management recommendations it made in 2015. The IG cited congressional interest in matters it said could affect FEMA’s mission. The recommendations relate, in part, to FEMA’s plans for IT modernization. The IG credited FEMA with establishing a charter for its IT governance board. (Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General)
  • The House is considering legislation to expand TRICARE health coverage to federal employees who are also members of the National Guard and Reserve. TRICARE Reserve Select is already an option for most reservists, unless their full-time jobs happen to be with the federal government. Those workers are required to use the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program when they’re not on active duty, which comes with higher premiums. Advocates said the change would improve recruiting and retention in the military’s reserve components. The Senate passed a similar bill last year. (The National Guard Association of the United States)
  • Returns from the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) took a sharp downturn in February, reflecting corrections in the stock market. Only the solid G fund managed to bring in positive returns at 0.21 percent. The international stocks I fund came in lowest at -5.9 percent, losing significant gains from last year. Mostly strong performances in January allowed most of the year-to-date returns to stay in the black, but only slightly. (Federal News Radio)