VA secretary clarifies ‘Disney’ analogy to vets health care

Veterans Affairs Secretary Bob McDonald has clarified his comparison of veterans wait times to lines at Disney World. He said he never intended to suggest he didn’t take the VA mission seriously. His statement comes after he received much criticism from members of Congress, including House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.). Deputy VA Secretary Sloan Gibson said during a hearing before the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee that McDonald made a bad analogy. (Veterans Affairs)

Another day, another proposed...

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  • Veterans Affairs Secretary Bob McDonald has clarified his comparison of veterans wait times to lines at Disney World. He said he never intended to suggest he didn’t take the VA mission seriously. His statement comes after he received much criticism from members of Congress, including House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.). Deputy VA Secretary Sloan Gibson said during a hearing before the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee that McDonald made a bad analogy. (Veterans Affairs)
  • Another day, another proposed rule for federal contractors. The Federal Acquisition Regulation council has pitched a new stipulation requiring contractors to disclose whether they annually report on their greenhouse gas emissions. It would only apply to those awarded more than $7.5 million in federal contracts the previous year. The rule said this will help agencies work with contractors to reduce supply chain emissions. (Federal Register)
  • The head of the IRS has missed out on his own impeachment hearing. John Koskinen said he did not have adequate time to prepare for the hearing before the House Judiciary Committee. The event went on without him, and Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), chair of the House Oversight Committee, testified against Koskinen. The Judiciary Committee’s ranking member Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) said the impeachment has no chance of going through, however. (House Judiciary Committee)
  • CSC and Hewlett Packard Enterprise Services are joining to create one of the largest IT services companies in the world. CSC and HPES announced the merger yesterday. The new company will have annual revenues of $26 billion, more than 5,000 clients and cover every major global region. CSC is the 17th largest contractor in the federal government, having earned $2.7 billion in 2015, according to the Federal Procurement Data System. HP acquired EDS Corporation in 2008 to create its enterprise services division.
  • Five individuals who pretended to work for the IRS have been arrested. The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration said the suspects impersonated IRS agents to threaten victims into paying them supposed back taxes owed. TIGTA said IRS impersonation scams have resulted in over 6,000 victims losing more than $36 million. (USA Today)
  • Hewlett Packard Enterprise will spin off its technology outsourcing operations and merge them with Computer Sciences Corporation for $8.5 billion — and 100,000 employees will go with it. Basically, HP is selling off EDS, which it acquired in 2008 for $14 billion. HP retains a 50 percent share in the new entity to be led by CSC executives. HP itself will concentrate on enterprise hardware sales. (AP)
  • Cybersecurity spending by civilian agencies will rise 35 percent in 2017. That makes next year a make-or-break year for cybersecurity, according to Andy Ozment, assistant Homeland Security secretary for cybersecurity and communications. He said the domestic side of government is finally getting the funding it needs to protect against cyber vulnerabilities. Ozment also cited the proposed IT Modernization Fund and the shared services initiative as potentially boosting cybersecurity. (Federal News Radio)
  • The Veterans Affairs Committee said it has a plan to reform the disability claims appeals process. The plan would shorten the average wait time for veterans from roughly three years. to one for new appeals. But it doesn’t address how the VA plans to resolve the current backlog of 450,000 claims. Members of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee said they’re concerned about the backlog and whether the VA’s new process would have the funding and personnel it needs to succeed. (Federal News Radio)
  • Thinking about taking a trip to the Grand Canyon? Better take it sooner rather than later.
    Officials with the Interior Department said they are preparing in case of a data gap when it comes to the trip-planning site Recreation.gov. A new $182 million contract was awarded to Booz Allen Hamilton, but the start of that contract and the current one could leave some reservations — for things like campsites and permits — in limbo. (Federal News Radio)