The Federal Headlines is a daily compilation of the stories you hear discussed on Federal Drive with Tom Temin.
In today’s Top Federal Headlines, the Homeland Security Department Inspector General points out many glaring problems with the agency’s process in distributing Green Cards.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) reportedly continues to struggle in correctly issuing Green Cards. A new report from the agency’s inspector general found the DHS’ Office of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services made 19,000 cards with incorrect information over the last three years. The reported problems include sending them to the wrong addresses and incorrect expiration dates. (Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General)
Federal agencies have been cleared to increase the raise their limits on spending for employee awards in fiscal 2017. After a six year freeze, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) said agencies can now spend 1.5 percent of aggregate salaries for all non-Senior Executive Service employees on performance bonuses or individual awards at the end of the year. The previous limit was about 1 percent. The spending boost does not apply to Senior Executives or political appointees. (Federal News Radio)
Another lawmaker has asked for more information about the Office of Personnel Management’s (OPM) work to prevent political appointees from *burrowing in* to the Trump administration. Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Chairman Ron Johnson (R-WI) said he wants weekly updates from OPM about the number of conversions or requests for conversions to the new administration. (Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee)
One of the Obama administration’s policies has hit a roadblock. A federal court in the Eastern District of Texas has blocked the start of the Labor Department’s overtime rule. It would have made an estimated four million workers eligible for overtime pay. The judge said the rule exceeds the authority the agency was delegated by Congress. (Associated Press)
Look for familiar faces as president-elect Trump adds new people to his agency landing teams. Heading the landing team for the Office of Management and Budget, Linda Springer. She was the controller of OMB and also lead the Office of Federal Financial Management. Springer spent three years as head of the Office of Personnel Management — all under President George W. Bush. After serving the Bush administration, she joined Ernst and Young as a senior director in its government practice. (GreatAgain.gov)
Senate Armed Services Chairman John McCain (R-AZ) has urged Defense Secretary Ash Carter to refrain from implementing any last minute policies. In a letter to Carter, McCain said many of the Defense Department’s recent actions were questionable and misguided. He said creating new policy would be inappropriate during the transition and the lame-duck session. (Federal News Radio)
The Defense Department has launched a new outreach center for troops. The “Be There” peer support call and outreach center serves active duty service members, National Guardsmen, reservists, and family members. The center will be open to receive telephone calls or texts to help servicemen with everyday problems and general life questions. It’s being administered by TriWest Healthcare Alliance. (Department of Defense)
The Defense Department’s top IT official said he is standing by his two-year timetable to get rid of DoD’s Common Access Card. Terry Halvorsen, DoD’s chief information officer, said he’s asked industry for ideas to replace the smart card Defense employees and military members have used for the past 15 years to sign onto Defense IT systems. He also said it needs to be done with additional hardware. Halvorsen said four such proposals are already on his desk, proving that the objective is within the reach of existing technology. DoD’s precise way forward is still unclear, but the CIO had previously suggested some mix of biometrics — like iris scans — and software that can identify behavioral patterns. (Federal News Radio)