Cardin, Mikulski join group worried about premum increases for long-term-care

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

  • Sens. Ben Cardin (D-Md) and Barbara Mikulski (D-Md), have joined the group of lawmakers demanding answers on the large increase in federal long-term-care insurance premiums. They sent a letter to the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) to convey the anger they’ve heard from federal employees. They also want the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs committee to hold hearings on the matter when Congress returns. Reps. Don Beyer (D-Va) and Gerry Connelly (D-Va) as well as Rep. Barbara Comstock (R-Va) and Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va)  have taken similar actions. (Sen. Ben Cardin)
  • The Obama Administration has issued final guidance for the Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces executive order, which supporters say will help level the playing field for law-abiding contractors and hold violators to higher standards. The final regulations go into effect Oct. 25 and require companies to disclose violations for 14 labor law protections that occurred in the past three years. (Federal News Radio)
  • The General Services Administration is looking for feedback on the idea of requiring large contractors involved with its massive Alliant2 contract to disclose their greenhouse gas emissions. The proposal would require businesses to also set targets for reducing emissions and give updates on reaching those goals. (Federal Register)
  • After showing a downward trend for the last six years, budgets seem to be bouncing back in 2016 and contract spending is expected to follow suit.  Bloomberg Government’s Deputy Director of Government Contracts Duncan Amos said the bottom of the downswing may have been reached with contract spending only decreasing 1.5 percent last year. (Federal News Radio)
  • Agencies soon will have a one-stop shop to find out about more than 260 potential shared services for back office functions like financial management and human resources. The Unified Shared Services Management Office said it is reinvigorating and broadening the concept of Uncle Sam’s List. OMB rolled out Uncle Sam’s List in 2013 as a way to promote IT shared services. The shared services office collected the new information from 10 providers across the government over the last year to update the catalog.
  • 2018 is the year the Air Force aims to have completely migrated to Windows 10. The branch said a significant portion of its client inventory will need to be replaced because of the move. Bases are authorized to buy new devices such as tablets and laptops through the AFWay purchasing platform, but should hold off on desktops unless their mission dictates otherwise. (Air Force)
  • The Army has instituted new policies to vet its officers for professional and moral shortcomings before they’re promoted to the next rank. The vetting process isn’t particularly new – the main difference is it will happen long before soldiers’ promotions reach the Army Secretary or Congress for approval . Officials said some officers have gotten onto the promotion list, only to be removed after investigations turned up mental, physical, moral or professional issues. Among other potentially embarrassing factors, the Army will pre-screen officers with ranks as low as Captain for a history of sexual harassment, drunk driving, drug use, or involvement in any ongoing criminal or IG investigations. (Army)
  • Now that the Federal Aviation Administration has issued a final rule concerning the commercial use of small drones without any safeguards related to privacy, the Electronic Privacy Information Center has moved forward with its lawsuit against the agency. EPIC said the Congressional order to FAA to develop a “comprehensive plan” concerning widespread drone use can’t be fulfilled without addressing privacy concerns. The FAA maintains that privacy issues are beyond the scope of its rule-making capabilities and they do not raise any immediate safety concerns. (Electronic Privacy Information Center)
  • Three agencies have joined up for a new program to look at new cancer treatments based on the genes and proteins found in patients’ tumors. The Department of Defense,  Veterans Affairs and the National Cancer Institute have created the APOLLO program. It’s part of Vice President Joe Biden’s national Cancer Moonshot initiative. (Department of Veteran Affairs)