The Federal Headlines is a daily compilation of the stories you hear discussed on Federal Drive with Tom Temin.
The Trump administration will be recommending a 1.9 percent pay raise for federal workers. According to the Washington Post, agencies have been told to factor in that raise for civilian employees to go into effect on the first pay period of January 2018. This comes after the Trump administration’s budget blueprint recommended large cuts to several agencies. (The Washington Post) Federal News Radio is currently investigating this story. Read a related story.
Expect to see further details on the Trump budget by mid-May. In an interview on NBC’s Meet the Press, Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney said the full budget to be released then will have “more flesh on the bones” than the budget blueprint recently released by the administration. The administration will not be able to balance the budget this year however. Mulvaney said they’re working on trying to do that within a 10-year budget window. President Donald Trump had pledged to balance the budget during his campaign for the office. (NBC News)
The Veterans Affairs Department exempted more positions from the President’s temporary hiring freeze. Some cybersecurity positions and veterans appeals processors will receive exemptions. Employees handling the disability claims appeals backlog will be exempted as well. The backlog is up by about 30,000 more claims since Trump announced the hiring freeze in January. VA Secretary David Shulkin announced additional exemptions in a memo to staff. (Federal News Radio)
Even with changes in leadership and an emphasis on improving the Veterans Crisis Line, a new report from Veterans Affairs Department’s inspector general said VCL management still faces significant obstacles providing suicide prevention and crisis intervention services. The report says more than 25 percent of incoming calls are rolled over to backup centers, a move that doesn’t guarantee a caller will be answered immediately. It makes 16 recommendations for Veterans Affairs to improve the service. They include improving staff education, more oversight of wait times and an increase in call monitoring. (Veterans Affairs)
A new study laid out ways the Defense Department could improve its military personnel without increasing funding. The Bipartisan Policy Center gave DoD 39 recommendations to improve morale and employees’ skill set. They include replacing the up or out promotion system and making it easier for employees to move between the private sector and the armed forces. (Federal News Radio)
Some managers are still resistant to having their employees use telework. The Government Accountability Office said some managers are discouraging their employees from using it. The four agencies it reviewed said they faced challenges in making sure their telework data was accurate. Overall, agencies are meeting most of the requirements under the Telework Enhancement Act. (Government Accountability Office)
Federal chief information officers were urged to consider shared services for application development. The CIO Council encouraged agencies to look at shared developer platforms and to increase their use of application programming interfaces or APIs. The council said in a new best practices guide that agencies can integrate existing APIs and services to deliver functionality rather than build from scratch. The report highlighted existing examples of this type of effort as well as 27 potential service areas, and policy reform opportunities that could accelerate the adoption of developer platforms and services. (CIO.gov)
Rep. Jim Langevin (D-R.I) said he is working on a bill to set a cyber vulnerability disclosure standard. Langevin said the proposed legislation would require companies to disclose the theft of customer data within 30 days. He said industry would prefer a uniform vulnerability disclosure requirements. (Federal News Radio)
Jeanette Manfra, acting deputy under secretary for cybersecurity at the Homeland Security Department’s National Protection & Programs Directorate, said some of the $1.5 billion proposed for cybersecurity in the President’s fiscal 2018 budget would go toward security around dot-gov websites. Manfra said she wants a strategy in place in the next few months, with plans to implement it in the next two years. (Federal News Radio)