Thursday federal headlines – December 3, 2015

The Federal Headlines is a daily compilation of the stories you hear discussed on the Federal Drive.

Three more senators join Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Ranking Member Tom Carper (D-Del.) to sponsor postal reform legislation. Sens. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) and Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) are backing the Improving Postal Operations Service and Transparency Act. Carper introduced the bill back in October. It would cancel the Postal Service’s requirement to pre-fund 80 percent...

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The Federal Headlines is a daily compilation of the stories you hear discussed on the Federal Drive.

  • Three more senators join Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Ranking Member Tom Carper (D-Del.) to sponsor postal reform legislation. Sens. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) and Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) are backing the Improving Postal Operations Service and Transparency Act. Carper introduced the bill back in October. It would cancel the Postal Service’s requirement to pre-fund 80 percent of retiree health benefits. USPS said  this requirement is one of the main reasons behind its financial instability. (Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee)
  • A Federal Claims judge found the Federal Aviation Administration owes thousands of air traffic controllers overtime pay after improperly exceeding limits on time off that can be accrued in lieu of extra compensation for working more than 40 hours. The FAA violated the Fair Labor Standards Act by asking air traffic controllers to volunteer to work overtime in exchange for credited leave hours instead of overtime pay when the credit hours exceeded the 24 credit-hours that can be accumulated under the law. (U.S. Court of Federal Claims)
  • A new report by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee found there has been 143 security breaches or attempted breaches at facilities secured by the Secret Service in the last 10 years. The report said  the Secret Service is quote an agency in crisis, faulting leadership failings within the agency and budget cuts imposed by Congress for causing what the committee said is a staffing crisis. (Associated Press)
  • The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction is looking into the possible misuse of $150 million. The IG is requesting information from the Defense Department on a task force that allegedly built private villas with flat-screen TVs and DVD players for government employees in Afghanistan. The employees could have lived in DoD facilities for little or no extra charge and saved taxpayers millions of dollars, a letter from the IG states. (SIGAR)
  • The Defense Department said it has numbers showing its acquisition reforms have driven down annual contract costs in the past five years. Defense contract costs have declined about 5 percent since the creation of Better Buying Power, DoD said. DoD Under Secretary for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics Frank Kendall said he will not release a new version of the reforms next year. Instead, he will focus on policies from the previous versions. (Federal News Radio)
  • The Office of Management and Budget is launching a new council as part of a broad effort to raise the stature of federal privacy issues across the government. OMB Director Shaun Donovan says the council will be modeled after the federal CIO Council. It will include agency chief privacy officers and others who oversee privacy issues in the government. Along with the new council, Donovan says OMB will issue new guidance for handling personal information during a data breach and update two circulars that address privacy issues. (Federal News Radio)
  • The Office of Personnel Management said  the next generation of USA Jobs.gov will be done in the next 18 to 24 months. It’s rolling out updates and new features every six to eight weeks. USA Jobs Program Manager Michelle Earley said writing job announcements and requirements more clearly is one of her main goals. OPM also wants to create a skills aggregator tool that collects information on a federal employee’s job experience and certifications and keeps track of it over time. (Federal News Radio)