Friday federal headlines – November 6, 2015

The Federal Headlines is a daily compilation of the stories you hear discussed on the Federal Drive and In Depth radio shows.

  • The Secretary of Veterans Affairs is convening a commission to help choose the next under secretary for benefits. The commission, which is required by law, will try to replace Allison Hickey. Hickey resigned Oct. 16 in the wake of allegations of pay fraud. The official position announcement will be available on starting today. (Veterans Affairs)
  • One senator thinks IRS employees should not be unionized anymore. Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) has introduced the End the Partisan IRS Culture Act. It would strip the agency from labor organization and collective bargaining requirements. The National Treasury Employees Union represents nearly 90,000 IRS employees. (Sen. Tim Scott)
  • The House Foreign Affairs Committee passes the Foreign Aid Transparency and Accountability Act. It directs the State Department to update to make information on U.S. foreign assistance publicly available. Heads of agencies involved in foreign aid will have to provide state with information about such assistance programs. (Congress)
  • Senate Democrats have blocked an attempt to move forward a $579 billion Defense spending bill for 2016. According to The Hill, they’re worried Republicans will back out of their agreements on domestic spending if they pass a standalone Defense bill. Lawmakers have until mid-December to individual or omnibus spending legislation either individually or an omnibus to avoid a shutdown. (Govtrack)
  • The Department of Veterans Affairs wants to tighten up the verification process for contracts awarded to veteran-owned small businesses. New rules proposed by the department hope to clarify eligibility requirements and streamline the monitoring of daily business operations. (Federal Register)
  • The Justice Department wants to give its IG access to more records and documents. But the department’s IG himself wants Congress to reform the Inspector General Act of 1978 so all agencies get the same access. Michael Horowitz chairs the Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency. He wrote to the House and Senate Judiciary Committees. He said Congress should reject the Justice Department’s recent proposal. (Federal News Radio)
  • The Defense Department gives new direction to program managers on implementing the cyber risk management framework. The guidebook emphasizes a risk-based approach that treats cybersecurity like any other system requirement. The guidebook is the first version released by the department. DoD’s top weapons buyer and top technology officer said cybersecurity is a vital aspect to maintaining U.S. technological superiority. (Federal News Radio)
  • The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office will need a new chief of staff. Andrew Byrnes, who has held the position since September of 2013, has parted ways with the office in order to become general counsel and senior vice president of a San Francisco ride-sharing start-up. No word yet on any possible replacement. (LinkedIn)

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