Friday federal headlines – March 25, 2016

The House Budget Committee wants to cut non-Defense spending over the next 10 years even lower than what's called for under sequestration. It's calling for a 10...

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

  • Better watch out. House Republicans are coming for your pay and benefits. In its report for fiscal 2017, the House Budget Committee wants to cut non-Defense spending over the next 10 years even lower than what’s called for under sequestration. It’s calling for a 10 percent reduction in the civilian workforce through attrition. Plus much larger employee pension contributions. It also recommends phasing out the retirement annuity altogether as a defined contribution, not a defined benefit. (House Budget Committee)
  • As many as 14,000 veterans are still waiting for a Veterans Affairs Department agent to help them manage their VA benefits. The VA said one of its IT systems found claim processing errors. The Beneficiary Fiduciary Field System was deployed in 2014 and updated last year. The Veterans Benefits Administration said it set up a specific team of people to review these cases now, but it could take at least 6 months or longer for impacted veterans to receive help from a VA fiduciary. (Veterans Affairs)
  • The Army said it thinks it will take longer than a year for it to transition all of its IT equipment to Windows 10. Last November, the Defense Department mandated all IT systems move to Windows 10 by January 2017. Army Chief Information Officer Lt. Gen. Robert Ferrell said it was going to take a lot longer than that. The Army is currently assessing its legacy systems to see how they can transition to Windows 10. Ferrell said the most challenging part about the transition will be upgrading old legacy systems. (Federal News Radio)
  • The Federal Manages Association elected Renee Johnson as its new national president. Johnson is a 26 year veteran of federal employment. She previously served in the FMA as director of Region 2 in the southeast and held the Chapter 21 presidency. She is succeeding Patricia Niehaus, who paved the way for Johnson as the first woman elected as FMA president. (Federal News Radio)
  • The Defense Department is proposing to to amend the Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement (DFARS) with new rules. One rule calls for allowing costs of counterfeit parts and the corrective actions to remedy their use if the contractor acquired the parts in accordance with regulations, discovers it and lets the government know. An additional proposed rule would prohibit the use of cost-plus contracting for military construction or family housing projects. (Federal Register)
  • Internal Revenue Service Commissioner John Koskinen said the agency is going to remain understaffed, less vigilant against tax fraud and at a higher risk of cyber attack if it doesn’t get adequate funding from Congress. The agency is asking for more than $12 billion to help fill in the gaps. Koskinen wants a special hiring authority renewed so it can bring in more IT professionals to update the agency’s technology. (Federal News Radio)
  • The Internal Revenue Service is handling public tips regarding tax cheating in a disorganzied fashion. A report from the Government Accountability Office found the tax collection agency does not have an organized structure for information referral and lacks leadership and guidance for the process. The IRS received about 87,000 information referrals in 2015. GAO recommends it tightens up the process and put someone in charge of it. (GAO)

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