Judge to IRS: Finish conservative groups’ applications

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

  • A federal judge orders the Internal Revenue Service to hurry up on processing applications of about 40 groups applying for tax exempt status. The Washington Times reports the judge gave the agency until November 11 to clear its backlog of conservative groups that IRS officials admitted back in 2013 were scrutinized unfairly. (Washington Times)
  • About 75% of civilian agencies now have EINSTEIN 3A cyber tools from the Homeland Security Department. DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson says the department will meet the congressional deadline to deploy EINSTEIN at all agencies by the end of the year. It’s one of the last major items on Johnson’s to-do list before he leaves office in less than 100 days. (Federal News Radio)
  • It did not take much for hackers to breach government IT systems. That’s according to the National Security Agency’s Deputy National Manager for National Security Systems Curt Dukes. He tells reporters many of the high profile government cyber intrusions came from poorly secured systems. He says better cyber hygiene could go a long way. (Federal News Radio)
  • The Army has a new cybersecurity chief. Lieutenant General Paul Nakasone takes over Cyber Command and the Second Army. An Army War College graduate, Nakasone was commander of the Cyber National Mission Force at U.S. Cyber Command. He replaces Lieutenant General Edward Cardon. (Army)
  • The Government Accountability Office is launching a new review of the long-term viability of the military’s public-private partnerships for housing on military bases. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Military Privatized Housing Initiative, which is almost universally regarded as a success – replacing dilapidated housing with modern communities and saving the government money in the process. But under instructions from Congress, GAO is looking at whether the program will continue to work as well in the decades to come. There are at least two concerns: the military housing allowances that pay for the program have taken a five percent cut in the last several years and occupancy rates are falling as the military shrinks, potentially threatening housing providers’ business models.
  • FEMA looking for industry’s help to modernize how it manages $10 billion a year in grants. FEMA is trying to bring its 40-plus grant management programs under one technology infrastructure. The agency issued a request for information and held an industry day earlier this week. The RFI seeks insights from contractors on how best to create a single grants management IT platform and, where possible, establish a common grants management life cycle and unified business processes across the various programs. FEMA wants the new IT infrastructure to be scalable and available to address surges because of disasters. Responses to the RFI are due October 30. (FedBizOpps)
  • The Justice Department gets a new $28 million settlement from a longstanding kickback case. That’s how much Omnicare, the largest nursing home pharmacy, will pay for allegations it got kickbacks from Abbott Laboratories for promoting a drug to treat dementia. Abbott agreed to pay one-point-five billion dollars under the False Claims Act back in 2012. Of the Omnicare agreement reached yesterday, 20 million goes to the United States and the rest to state Medicaid programs. (Department of Justice)
  • President of the American Federation of Government Employees J. David Cox wants Congress to pass emergency legislation to prevent what he calls massive increases in Medicare Part B premius for retirees next year. Cox says the point 3% cost of living adjustment recently announced triggered the increase in premiums for 30% of beneficiaries not receiving Social Security Benefits. (American Federation of Government Employees)
  • President Obama plans to appoint a Meghan Flanz as Veterans Affairs new assistant secretary for human resources and administration. Flanz is currently serving as the acting assistant secretary in that role. Prior to that, she was deputy general counsel for legal operations at VA. She’s been with the agency since 2001. (The White House)