FDA’s drug evaluation center facing severe staffing issues

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

  • Staffing woes are affecting the Food and Drug Administration. The Washington Post reports the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research has over 700 vacancies, making it difficult for it to fulfill its mission. CDER Director Janet Woodcock said part of the problem is pharmaceutical companies pay about twice as much as the FDA can offer. (Washington Post)
  • Agencies have a new place to go to find open source code already in use across the federal government. The Office of Management and Budget launches Code.gov. The website already includes 50 open source projects from more than 10 agencies. OMB said agencies can pull code from the site to their own enterprise code inventories. Code.gov builds on the administration’s open source policy released in August. (White House)
  • New features are being added on Congress.gov just in time for lawmakers to return to Washington. The Library of Congress is rolling out 17 new functions to give citizens better access to the day-to-day happenings on Capitol Hill. The library updated the Congress.gov website to include several changes requested by its users such as a rundown of what happened the previous day in Congress. The new Congress.gov also offers the ability to subscribe to appropriations bill updates through email or RSS feeds. These latest updates are part of a year-long effort to make the portal more user friendly and accessible. (Library of Congress)
  • The Internal Revenue Service is standing up a new office with the goal of reducing tax refund fraud. The sharing and analysis center will collect and analyze data on fraud schemes. The center will gather information from the IRS itself and from the agency’s so-called security summit partners at the state and city levels. (Federal News Radio)
  • The Office of Government Ethics is revamping its executive branch ethics program. It’s the first time the program has been updated in nearly 40 years. It changes the training requirements for agencies calling for them to set up more formal training programs. It also requires that political appointees get individual ethics briefings in their firs 15 days. New requirements kick in Jan. 1. (Federal News Radio)
  • Wounded warriors are using the Veterans Affairs Department’s health care coverage more than ever. Nearly 71 percent of post 9/11 veterans who were injured during a deployment get their coverage at VA boosted by 5 percent from a year earlier. That’s according to a Westat survey of Wounded Warrior Project alumni. Of this group, two-thirds received most of their care at VA facilities. Many struggled  Less than half of project alumni reported having good to excellent health. (Wounded Warrior Project)
  • The National Capital Region Medical Directorate has a new Workplace Violence Prevention Program that hopes to reduce occupational violence at the regions’ military health care facilities. The program includes lessons on preventing occupational violent before it escalates. OSHA said health care and social service workers are almost four times as likely to be injured from violence than the average private sector worker. (DCMilitary.com)
  • The Army is asking the Defense Department for permission to add another 21 teams to the department’s Cyber Mission Force. U.S. Cyber Command has already declared initial operational capability for the 133 teams it planned for its offensive and defensive forces. But the Army is building another 10 cyber teams in the Army Reserve and 11 more in the National Guard, and wants them included in the plan too. Officials said the reservists bring more capabilities to the table since most of them work as full-time cyber experts in the civilian sector. They also have additional legal authorities, since governors can call on them for civil emergencies, local commanders can also deploy forces on their own, under special authorities Congress has already granted. (Army)
  • Another half a billion dollars will be needed in order to complete the development phase for the F-35. Bloomberg News is reporting the aircraft’s program office requested $530 million to complete development flight tests to be done by October 2017, and operational combat testing in fiscal 2018 and 2019. Over half of the money is reserved for “unforeseen delays.” (Bloomberg News)

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