Have you read so much about the proposed 2018 budget that you feel like your head will explode? Do you just want to know which provisions would affect you, but are having trouble separating it from all the rest? Federal News Radio has boiled it all down to some key takeaways all federal employees need to know. If you read nothing else about the budget, read this.
The Veterans Affairs Department may get a big budget boost in fiscal 2018 under the president’s proposal. Most of the additional funding will go toward health care, both in and outside the department. But the budget proposal does suggest cuts, and lawmakers said they’re concerned by possible spending reductions to VA information technology and medical research.
The Senate is tied up with the 2018 budget and probing whether Russia influenced the 2016 election. But members still remain interested in the Veterans Affairs Department. The committee is marking up the VA Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act. If enacted, this bill could help the department attract the talent management says it needs. Kristine Simmons, vice president of government affairs at the Partnership for Public Service, joins Federal Drive with Tom Temin with more.
In the 100 years since the U.S. entered World War I, more than 4,000 Americans remain missing in action. Defense Department MIA efforts only go as far back as World War II. Historian and author Robert Laplander heads up the Doughboy MIA Team for the U.S. World War I Centennial Commission. He joins Federal Drive with Tom Temin to talk about locating these earlier MIAs.
The Government Accountability Office found that the Veterans Affairs Department doesn’t have a very effective process for aligning facilities and capital investments. Debra Draper, director of health care issues at the GAO, shares the details on Federal Drive with Tom Temin.
Both the Veterans Affairs and Justice departments believe they can easily resolve some concerns with the constitutionality of the VA Accountability and Whistleblower Protection. DoJ is concerned, however, that VA will run into the same issues that ultimately rendered a controversial provision on firing senior executives unconstitutional.
The Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act, which senators introduced last week, may have more momentum than previous bills. It now has 12 co-sponsors, including four Democrats and VA Secretary David Shulkin himself. Yet some federal employee groups and experts question whether the new bill has the teeth to truly tackle long entrenched cultural problems at the department.
Amy Eastman, director of fundraising for Objective Zero, discusses a new mobile app aimed at eliminated veterans’ suicides.
Members of the Senate have reached a long awaited agreement on new accountability procedures for senior executives and employees within the Veterans Affairs Department. A bipartisan group of senators introduced the Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act Thursday morning. It would change current disciplinary appeals rights for both SES and rank-and-file employees.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit upheld an appeal from Sharon Helman, the former director of the beleaguered Veterans Affairs medical center in Phoenix, Arizona, who was fired in 2014. The court said a key provision that lets VA more quickly fire and discipline senior executives is unconstitutional. The Merit Systems Protection Board will review the original decision an administrative judge made regarding Helman’s removal.
VA’s facilities planning processes leave it with millions of square feet of empty and decaying space.
One Veterans Affairs Department cybersecurity manager developed a program to reduce turnover and attrition. In fact she’s a finalist in this year’s Government Information Security Leadership Awards. Barbara Smith, information security director for VA’s Pacific District, joins Federal Drive with Tom Temin with more.
VA says it wants to significantly expand the health care services it offers through telehealth technologies — voice, video, instantaneous record-sharing — but it’s hampered by state laws that require providers to be licensed in the same states as their patients.
The executive order establishes the Office of Accountability and Whistleblower Protections as a new entity within VA. The new office will identify barriers and duplicative processes and resources to quickly disciplining and firing VA employees for poor performance or misconduct.