Wednesday federal headlines – February 10, 2016

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

Both House and Senate budget committees are not holding hearings with senior Office of Management and Budget leaders this year, for the first time in the committees’ history. Ranking members on both committees are writing to their chairmen to express their disapproval. The director of OMB is usually invited to testify. A letter from Senate Budget Committee Ranking Member...

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

  • Both House and Senate budget committees are not holding hearings with senior Office of Management and Budget leaders this year, for the first time in the committees’ history. Ranking members on both committees are writing to their chairmen to express their disapproval. The director of OMB is usually invited to testify. A letter from Senate Budget Committee Ranking Member Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.) to Chairman Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.) has nine other signatures. House Ranking Member Chris Van Hollen’s (D-Md.) letter has at least 13 other signatures. (Senate Budget Committee)
  • In the President’s proposed 2017 budget, the Department of Justice would receive $29 billion. That’s an increase of less than 1 percent compared to 2016. $27 billion of that money would be set aside for federal programs, with a net $2 billion targeted for state, local and tribal assistance initiatives. $1.1 billion would be for the department’s law enforcement components, including the FBI, DEA, ATF, U.S. Marshals Service and the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force program. (Justice Department)
  • NASA would receive $19 billion in the President’s 2017 budget request. The largest portion of the $8.4 billion would go toward NASA’s human exploration programs like maintaining the International Space Station, as well as furthering development of NASA’s commercial partnership programs. NASA’s Science division would receive a large slice of $5.6 billion as well. (NASA)
  • The House of Representatives passed nine bills hoping to improve military veterans’ health care, education and employment opportunities, and rein in cost and schedule overruns in constructing Department of Veterans Affairs medical facilities. The Construction Reform Act of 2015 would require VA to hire an assistant inspector general for construction projects to continually investigate VA’s construction process, which is continually plagued by cost overruns and mismanagement. (Congress)
  • A former lawyer for stealing a substantial amount of money from the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Authorities said  Christopher Pitts kept money he received from home closings while working as a closing attorney on homes owned by HUD in Alabama, even though he was supposed to turn it over to the agency. Prosecutors said he caused HUD to lose around $1.1 million over three years. (HUD OIG)
  •  President Barack Obama is requesting $89.8 billion for federal information technology in fiscal 2017. Civilian agencies would receive $51.3 billion and the Defense Department would recieve $38.5 billion in the President’s proposal sent to Congress yesterday. In all, federal IT spending increased by about $1.1 billion over 2016 levels. Civilian agencies continue to spend almost three-quarters of their IT budgets on legacy systems. OMB is making a big push through a new IT Modernization Fund to reduce the $36 billion civilian agencies spend annually on older IT. (Federal News Radio)
  • The President’s 2017 budget plan calls for a larger federal workforce. Veterans Affairs, the IRS and Office of Personnel Management would get more warm bodies to improve health care, customer service and faster retirement claims calculations . The administration is proposing a 1.6 percent raise, the highest in eight years and more training money. Plus federal employees would get six weeks of paid parental leave. (Federal News Radio)
  • The Office of Personnel Management could get $37 million more for cybersecurity and IT programs in 2017. The agency’s Office of the Chief Information Officer and Inspector General would also have more to spend on IT under President Barack Obama’s budget request. Cybersecurity isn’t the only area where OPM could see more resources. It’s asking for $1.5 million more to hire more staff to process and respond to retirement claims. (Federal News Radio)