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, two Republicans in the House ask Attorney General Jeff Sessions to look into whether the former IRS manager broke the law.
Two House Republicans want another look at the Lois Lerner case. Kevin Brady (R-Texas), along with Peter Roskam (R-Ill.) wrote to the Justice Department, asking that it review evidence the former IRS Exempt Organizations Division Director broke the law in targeting conservative political groups. The reps said though the Obama administration refused to review the case, they’re hoping a new administration will. (Rep. Kevin Brady)
The Office of Personnel Management looks to get agencies to work on identifying and coding filled and open cybersecurity positions. The deadline for developing a procedure to do the work passed last week. Agencies have a year now to assign cybersecurity jobs with the right code. It’s part of the Federal Cybersecurity Workforce Assessment Act and Obama administration guidance. OPM said coding will help agencies better identify and quickly fill vacant cyber positions. (Chief Human Capital Officers Council)
New data is out on how agencies are buying products and services. Federal procurement spending through indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity or IDIQ contracts stayed constant between 2011 and 2015. The Government Accountability Office found agencies spent about $130 billion a year out of about a $450 billion procurement budget through these types of contracts. The Defense Department accounted for about two-thirds of that spending. Civilian agencies used multiple-award and single-award IDIQs for services more often than the military. Governmentwide, services accounted for about 66 percent of all task and delivery orders. (Government Accountability Office)
At the request of several Democratic lawmakers, the Government Accountability Office said it will conduct a review of whether President Donald Trump’s transition team followed ethical guidelines. The probe will include a look into communications with foreign leaders and use of public money. It’ll also compare the Trump transition with those Obama and George W. Bush’s. (Associated Press)
Now that it’s buried a fair pay rule for federal contractors proposed by the Obama administration, the Trump administration is asked to go wider. Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), have asked Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney to deep-six a rule from the EEOC. It would expand the pay data collected from companies with at least 100 employees. They said it would jack data collection 20-fold. (Washington Examiner)
The Defense Department is currently going over the April 11 directive telling agencies to cut unneeded jobs and maximize worker performance. DoD has not issued any new guidance. But the department has been working on trimming its civilian workforce in the past. Defense experts aren’t sure how the new directive will affect those plans. (Federal News Radio)
Two members of the Senate Armed Services Committee want to roll back the Defense Department’s travel budget cuts. Sens. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) and Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) introduced legislation to prohibit any reduction in per diem allowances for civilian employees and military service members. The Pentagon instituted the cuts in its travel budget in response to sequestration. (Sen. Mazie Hirono)
Three major defense trade associations have met with Defense Secretary James Mattis. The meeting between Mattis and the Aerospace Industries Association, the National Defense Industrial Association, and the Professional Services Council was for the trade groups to discuss opportunities and challenges the aerospace and defense industry faces in today’s acquisition and budget environment with Mattis. (National Defense Industrial Association)
The Defense Department’s online conferencing system has been up and running for more than a year in spite of some known cybersecurity problems. A newly-released Pentagon inspector general report said Defense Collaboration Services — a virtual meeting platform the Defense Information Systems Agency built based on open source software — was denied a full authority to operate (ATO) in the summer of 2016. That’s because DISA’s authorizing official found the system had noncompliant security controls that involved “high” or “very high” levels of risk, and issued a ‘provisional’, one-year ATO instead. The precise problems are redacted from the report, but DISA said it’s mitigated the problems, and hopes to gain a full authorization by next month. (Department of Defense Office of Inspector General)