Senate Appropriations passes civilian employee pay hike for 2019

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  • All hope is not lost for federal civilian employees looking for a pay raise in 2019. The Senate Appropriations Committee cleared the Financial Services and General Government bill with a recommendation to increase federal pay by 1.9 percent next fiscal year. The move was in contrast to President Trump’s proposed pay freeze for civilian employees. Committee members demonstrated bipartisan support for the workforce by overwhelmingly defeating an attempt to delete the pay raise from the bill with a 29-to-2 vote. The appropriations bill still must clear a Senate floor vote, and a conference with the House.  (Senate Appropriations)
  • The Office of Management and Budget released its long awaited reorganization report. Among the changes in the plan, OMB proposed a massive reorganization of the Office of Personnel Management, depicting OPM as an organization comprised of a chaotic array of functions. It also suggested moving federal employee health and retirement services from OPM to the General Services Administration, with most of OPM’s remaining policy offices moving to a new centralized human resources entity within the Executive Office of the President. Another key proposal — merging the Education and Labor departments — would shift food programs for low-income Americans to the Department of Health and Human Services. (Federal News Radio)
  • The Trump reorganization plan detailed a strategy to tackle the federal shortage of cybersecurity professionals. The plan includes a new cybersecurity hiring system, a cyber reservist program, and standardized training and reskilling of current federal employees. Most of these initiatives would be carried out by the Office of Management and Budget and the Homeland Security Department by the end of fiscal 2019.
  • Also in the Trump reorganization plan released Thursday, the administration proposed a transfer of the entire government-wide security clearance portfolio to the Pentagon. It’s a responsibility OPM held since the Pentagon first gave up the program in 2005. The Trump administration has long considered the transfer, particularly after Congress authorized the Defense Department (DoD) to begin a three-year plan to resume responsibility for all defense-related investigative work. (Federal News Radio)
  • The Trump administration said it intends to eliminate paper records by 2022, by putting an end to their acceptance at the National Archives and Records Administration. In its reorganization plan released Thursday, OMB said agencies spend billions of dollars every year on the staff, support contracts and facilities to maintain paper records. (Federal News Radio)
  • The Defense Department said it will provide temporary housing space on military bases for up to 20,000 migrant children. It said the request for temporary shelter was made by Health and Human Services. A Pentagon memo to members of Congress said it has been asked to have the facilities available as early as July, through the end of the year. It said HHS personnel or contractors for HHS “will provide all care for the children,” including supervision, meals, clothing, medical services, transportation and other daily needs. (Federal News Radio)
  • The Army is beginning to award contracts and make acquisition plans based on the cross functional teams it set up last year to modernize the force. The Army may also award contracts for research and development on networks, as well as better communication between allied forces based on the recommendation of cross functional teams by the end of the year. (Federal News Radio)
  • The Defense Department has named former Army Maj. Gen. Keith Thurgood to head the task force on consolidating commissary and exchange functions. The task force was set up in late May and will look at integrating back office aspects of the commissary and exchange enterprise to find efficiencies. (Defense.gov)
  • The Senate Veterans Affairs Committee has scheduled Robert Wilkie’s nomination hearing for next Wednesday. The president tapped Wilkie to be the new Veterans Affairs (VA) secretary after his first nominee fell through. The House Veterans Affairs Committee will hold its first oversight hearing next week on the VA’s electronic health record modernization. It also said it’ll form a designated subcommittee to review VA’s progress on the new EHR and other IT projects. (House Veterans) (Senate Veterans)