Thursday federal headlines – April 7, 2016

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

  • GSA has selected a not-so-new contractor to help speed up the FEDRAMP certification process. The agency said Unisys’s Service Management Government Cloud support will be part of the FEDRAMP Accelerated pilot program. The pilot is intended to speed up the review process for cloud services to make sure they meet government standards. (Unisys)
  • The National Telecommunications and Information Administration wants to know what’s stopping the Internet of Things from becoming a reality. NTIA is asking for comments on the benefits, challenges, and potential roles for the government in advancing IoT. NTIA is doing this as part of the Department of Commerce’s Digital Economy Agenda initiative. After analyzing the comments, NTIA will issue a “green paper” that identifies key issues impacting deployment of these technologies, highlights potential benefits and challenges, and identifies possible roles for the government to advance IoT with the private sector. (GPO)
  • The Justice Department has charged a former congressman’s chief of staff with ethics violations. DoJ said David Bowser used official congressional funds to pay a campaign consultant and also tried to block an investigation into the matter. At the time, Bowser worked for former Rep. Paul Broun (R-Ga.). He currently serves as top aide for Rep. Mimi Walters (D-Calif.). (WTOP)
  • Federal contractors get more time to comment on the Labor Department’s proposed rule requiring them to provided paid sick leave to workers. The department’s Wage and Hour Division extends the period for comments until April 25. The proposed rule is facing some pushback from business organizations like the Mechanical Contractors Association and Construction Employers of America. (Federal Register)
  • Zika has become this year’s Ebola. Congress hasn’t acted on a $1.9 billion request from the Obama administration to fight the mosquito-borne disease. So the White House said it will transfer nearly $600 million unspent from the Ebola effort. Most of it will go to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for research. Health and Human Services cited 672 confirmed Zika cases in U.S. territories.
  • The General Services Administration launches new tools to help vendors and start-up companies enter IT Schedule 70 more easily and quickly. It typically took vendors 110 days to go through the offer process. GSA Administrator Denise Turner Roth said it should now take 45. GSA is also looking at the experience of the leaders involved with the company’s project and the product itself to evaluate a contract forgoing the usual two-year professional experience requirement. (Federal News Radio)
  • A handful of defense experts said Defense Secretary Ash Carter’s new reforms don’t go far enough. Lexington Institute Vice President Dan Goure said Carter’s ideas were not bold enough to give the Pentagon the change it needs. Carter announced a list of reforms this week, which include giving the Joint Chiefs of Staff a bigger role and cutting back the members of the Defense Acquisition Board. The Armed Services Committees are expected to come out with a defense authorization bill in the next month, which will feature more reforms. (Federal News Radio)
  • The nation’s top auditor said the federal government’s financial reports are unreliable and incomplete. Comptroller General Gene Dodaro told a Senate budget committee the government will continue down a fiscally unsustainable path unless it cleans up its portfolio. Dodaro said agencies need to improve how they compile their financial data, and do a better job reporting payments to other offices within the government, especially at the Defense Department.  Dodaro singled out the DoD as the major agency that needs to work the most on its financial management. (Federal News Radio)

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