In Friday's Federal Headlines, the Obama administration said it supports the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, because it will help more than 24 million working- and middle-class families. The bill passed the Senate with changes already, the House just needs to approve of the changes.
Legislation introduced this month by Rep. Chris Stewart (R-Utah) aims to prohibit certain federal agencies from using or purchasing certain firearms. The Regulatory Agency De-militarization Act calls for federal agencies, other than those traditionally tasked with enforcing federal law, from purchasing machine guns, grenades and other weaponry regulated under the National Firearms Act. In an interview with Federal News Radio's Eric White on Federal Drive with Tom Temin, Stewart explains how he hopes this will help tamper down the distrust many Americans feel towards the federal government today.
After several days of last-minute haggling, the White House and congressional leaders finally reached a deal this week to fund the government through the end of 2016 — on top of an earlier agreement on top-line budget levels for both domestic agencies and defense through the end of 2017. There’s a lot to unpack in the budget deal, but Jared Serbu on Federal Drive with Tom Temin focused on how the agreement — coming a few months into the fiscal year — will affect federal procurement. Larry Allen, president of Allen Federal Business Partners, helped Federal Drive do that.
More than three years after the General Services Administration’s infamous Las Vegas conference featuring clowns, mind readers and bike-building morale exercises, federal employees are still feeling the effects of strict policies designed to prevent a repeat. In many cases, those policies mean several layers of agency approval before feds are allowed to attend any conference. Several science and technology organizations are telling agency leaders and Congress that those policies are a serious overcorrection to over-the-top agency conferences of years gone by, and they’re hindering the careers of federal scientists and other professionals. Dr. Sandra Magnus, executive director of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, talked with Jared Serbu on Federal Drive with Tom Temin about the dropoff in conference attendance by federal employee and why she thinks the oversight pendulum has swung too far.
The National Security Agency is planning to begin a structural reorganization in January. NSA Director Adm. Mike Rogers gave a tease as to what changes are coming to the agency. Those changes include a heavier focus on innovation and partnering with industry. Federal News Radio reporter Scott Maucione shares the story with Jared Serbu on Federal Drive with Tom Temin. Read Scott's related story.
Last week, former Taliban POW Bowe Bergdahl broke his media silence about his reasons for abandoning his Army unit by way of the popular Serial podcast. And just a few days later, the Army made the decision to try Bergdahl for desertion and misbehavior before the enemy via a general court martial — not the lower-level tribunal that had been recommended in the military's version of a preliminary hearing. Eric Montalvo is a former Marine Corps lawyer who spent 21 years as both a military prosecutor and defense attorney. He now works for the firm Federal Practice Group. In this week's Legal Loop, he talks to Jared Serbu on Federal Drive with Tom Temin about the latest developments in the Bergdahl case, including the Army's sudden decision to try the matter in a general court martial, not a special court martial.
Congress hasn't reauthorized three small federal ethics agencies since 2007. But the Office of Special Counsel, Merit Systems Protection Board and Office of Government Ethics don't have a clear reason why. All three agencies are asking for Congress to consider the reauthorization and a few recommendations that they say will help them handle a growing number of cases. Federal News Radio reporter Nicole Ogrysko shares the latest on Federal Drive with Tom Temin.
After many, many days of closed-door negotiations, we finally have an agreement on the 2016 budget. The deal heads to the floor today, and if it passes, it means no more continuing resolutions for the remainder of 2016 and some certainty on the pay and benefits front for federal employees. Maryland Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) is the senior democrat on the Senate appropriations committee and had a key role in negotiating the final deal. She talked with Jared Serbu on Federal Drive with Tom Temin.
In Thursday's Federal Headlines, the Saving Federal Dollars Through Better Use of Government Purchase and Travel Cards Act of 2015 helps prevent charge card misuse and abuse by requiring the Government Services Administration to continuously examine charge card purchases made across the federal government.
Budget uncertainty has been the norm for most federal agencies for several years in a row now. But the Federal Aviation Administration has suffered more than most. Long before the days of sequestration, the FAA had already gone through several years of short-term agency reauthorizations that kept its funding and programmatic priorities largely in limbo. Congress asked the Government Accountablity Office to examine the FAA's budget and how to add some predictability to the mix, and GAO has now reported back. Gerald Dillingham is the director of civil aviation issues at GAO, and he joined Jared Serbu on Federal Drive with Tom Temin to talk about the report.
If cloud computing is so great, how come federal agencies don't do more of it? The White House has been pushing cloud for nearly a decade. Turns out, CIOs still face a lot of challenges to cloud usage. The Professional Services Council, in a new report, spells them out together with some advice and examples of cloud success. Federal Drive with Tom Temin discussed all of this with the PSC's Executive Vice President Dave Wennergren.
The 2016 spending bill holds more presents than lumps of coal for federal employees. The omnibus appropriations bill is the first one in some time that didn’t require federal employees to hold their collective breaths for possible pay and benefits changes. Federal News Radio’s executive editor Jason Miller joins Jared Serbu on Federal Drive with Tom Temin me with details about why federal employees should be a little more optimistic for 2016 and beyond. Read Jason's related story.
In Wednesday's Federal Headlines, the Inspector General Empowerment Act of 2015 was blocked with scant explanation by Sen. Harry Reid after the bill's proponents spoke.
More money to spend on performance bonuses and an overhaul to the hiring and onboarding process are some of the changes coming to the Senior Executive Service next year. To help implement them, agencies have four major requirements from President Barack Obama in a new executive order. Federal News Radio reporter Nicole Ogrysko fills in Jared Serbu on Federal Drive with Tom Temin.