Rep. Comstock offers legislation to give feds paid parental leave

In today’s Federal Newscast, Rep. Barbara Comstock (R-Va.) has introduced a bill to provide for a paid parental leave program for federal employees.

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  • Rep. Barbara Comstock (R-Va.) introduced legislation providing paid parental leave for federal workers. The Federal Employees Paid Parental Leave Act of 2018 Act would give federal workers up to 12 weeks of paid leave for the birth, adoption or foster placement of a child. Currently, federal workers can take up to 12 weeks of unpaid family or medical leave in those situations. Comstock and other House Republicans and Democrats have introduced similar bills over the past decade with little success.  (NARFE)
  • The Office of Personnel Management is gearing up a new review process for agency human capital activities.  Under the new procedures, agencies are supposed to meet with OPM next year to share their human capital goals, their success stories and challenges, as well as providing OPM a status update on how they’re meeting government-wide workforce goals. The review ends with OPM feedback and recommendations.  (CHCOC)
  • The Office of Management and Budget has released initial implementation guidance to agencies on how to tackle the long-standing need for stronger program and project management practices. Among the details is the creation of a Program Mangement Improvement Officer, someone in each agency designated to lead efforts that enhance the role and practice of program management. (White House)
  • The House Intelligence Committee has passed through its annual intelligence authorization bill to the full House. The committee said the bill supports national security measures focusing on ways to counter threats from China and cyber attacks. In that vein, the measure provides for increased compensation for personnel with certain cyber skills.  (Federal News Radio)
  • The House has passed a $675 billion spending bill for the Defense Department. It now heads to the Senate, where that chamber’s appropriations committee passed a similar bill earlier this week. The White House said it generally supports the measure, but some issues may generate conflict with the administration, including a provision that would ban purchases from Chinese telecommunications suppliers. (Federal News Radio)
  • The DoD said it is ready to roll out a new pilot project that’s sure to be popular. The Pentagon said 12 commissaries across the U.S. will start selling beer and wine July 26. DoD said it hopes the availability of alcohol will increase the satisfaction of troops on base. Commissaries already sell just about every other item typically found in a grocery store. But the only places to get beer and wine on military bases are exchanges. Selling alcohol at commissaries will allow customers to eliminate an extra stop on their way home.  (Military Times)
  • The Chief Information Security Officer Council said it has created what it calls a one-stop shop for all things cyber.  A new CISO handbook aims to clarify and close any knowledge gaps on what is expected of federal IT security executives. The document includes key information and usable templates and processes that new and up-in-coming security professionals can use to improve their skill sets. The goal is to ensure all cyber executives have a foundational understanding of their responsibilities and a systematic overview of policies and regulations. (CIO)
  • The Senate passed a five-year, $867 billion farm bill that keeps a major Agriculture Department policy. The measure leaves out a work requirement for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as food stamps, that was sought by the Trump administration. The provision is included in the agriculture bill recently passed by the House. The administration wants to move the program out of USDA entirely and put it in the Department of Health and Human Services. (Senate)
  • President Donald Trump’s choice to head the IRS outlined his priorities in confirmation hearings with the Senate Finance Committee. Charles Rettig said he is looking to modernize the agency’s aging workforce and IT systems. He also told senators he will push for critical pay authority for hard-to-fill IT jobs. Under the new tax reform law, IRS has hundreds of IT systems and forms in need of updating before the next tax season. (Federal News Radio)
  • Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke apologized and deleted the tweet of a picture that may have broken federal ethics laws. Earlier this week at a meeting of the Western Governors Association in Mount Rushmore, S.D.,  Zinke donned a pair of socks featuring a cartoon depiction of Trump, along with the president’s campaign slogan “Make America Great Again.” When he tweeted a photo of the socks on his Interior Department account, the nonpartisan group Campaign for Accountability said he had gone too far. It filed a complaint with the Office of Special Counsel claiming the tweet violated the Hatch Act, which prohibits political activity by government officials on the job. (Reuters)