VA MISSION Act passes the House

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  • The House passed the Veterans Affairs MISSION Act and the legislation now headed to the Senate, which is expected to take up the bill and send it to the president’s desk by Memorial Day. The MISSION ACT gives the Veterans Affairs Department a long awaited alternative to its Veterans Choice program and consolidates all seven community care programs. (House Veterans Affairs Committee)
  • Federal unions spoke out against the President’s Management Agenda and workforce modernization plans. The American Federation of Government Employees told the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee the PMA is a “sabotage.” Meanwhile, Office of Personnel Management Director Jeff Pon admitted the administration does not have a good relationship with federal unions, but that he wanted all stakeholders to contribute to an inclusive debate about future workforce proposals. (Federal News Radio)
  • Secretary of State Mike Pompeo gave a pep talk to employees a day after lifting the agency’s 16-month hiring freeze. The former CIA director said the State Department needs to regain its “swagger,” and its diplomats should act with confidence. Pompeo has served as secretary for three weeks now. He took over the job from Rex Tillerson, whom President Donald Trump fired in March. (Federal News Radio)
  • EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt said the agency’s nationwide office space consolidation plan is moving ahead. This is despite the fact that Congress blocked funding for the regional office consolidation in the 2018 omnibus spending bill. The agency is slated to close offices in Las Vegas and Grosse Ile, Michigan, by the end of the fiscal year. Pruitt told the Senate Appropriations Committee that the EPA will continue to reduce its real estate footprint. (Senate Appropriations Committee)
  • The General Services Administration told agencies to start reimbursing federal employees for the moving expenses they were previously told to pay out of pocket. GSA issued new guidance after hearing concerns from federal employee groups and two Virginia senators. The guidance applies to the lodging and transportation expenses federal employees paid to travel to a new duty station and the expenses they previously paid to move their household items. The guidance is retroactive from the beginning of the year. Provisional changes in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act eliminated the deductions federal employees could previously take to ease the costs of moving to a new location for the job. (Federal News Radio)
  • GSA is about to take the first major step toward modernizing federal payroll services. By the end of May, the General Services Administration expects to issue a request for proposals for the next generation of payroll services. GSA Administrator Emily Murphy said payroll is one of several shared services her agency is revving up over the next few years. She said GSA wants at least three providers for each shared service to ensure competition and avoid vendor lock-in. Murphy said the shared services model would be similar to the telecommunications contracts GSA runs where the provider can retain some of the fee in order to pay for upgrades to new technology when necessary.
  • The U.S. spent $2.8 trillion fighting terrorism over the last 15 years, according to a new study from the Stimson Center. The price tag averaged out to about $187 billion a year from 2002 to 2017. (Stimson Center)
  • All 39 of the Air Force’s cyber mission teams are now fully-capable. The milestone comes four months ahead of a September deadline set by U.S. Cyber Command, which oversees the 133 offensive and defensive teams provided by each of the military services. The Army and Navy each declared full operational capability for their teams last fall. (Air Force Space Command)
  • Vendors might start competing for another massive DoD cloud computing contract as soon as July. The director of the Defense Information Systems Agency said officials expect to release a final solicitation for the contract, known as DEOS, by the fourth quarter of this fiscal year. The single-award contract is worth up to $7.8 billion for up to 10 years. DoD plans to use it to replace at least four existing contracts. It would bundle together functions ranging from email, voice and video to standard office software into a single cloud service.
  • Navy sailors who decide to reenlist will now get bonuses. A new update added 39 new skills in 12 different occupations or ratings eligible to receive bonuses for lengthening their stay in the Navy. The update also increased bonuses for 135 skills in 40 occupations. (U.S. Navy)