Short-term continuing resolution introduced to keep government open

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

  • A short-term spending measure to keep the government open was introduced in the House. Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-N.J.) brought forth a continuing resolution he said would keep the government open and operating for the next several days. The CR extends funding for operations for agencies, programs and services until May 5. The current continuing resolution expires 11:59 p.m. on Friday. (House Appropriations Committee)
  • Custodians, security officers and retail and cafeteria contractors working for federal agencies or the U.S. Capitol grounds may still get paid if they’re furloughed due to a government shutdown. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) introduced the Low-Wage Federal Contractor Back Pay Act. It would ensure furloughed contractors get paid if the government shuts down. She said the idea came to her after speaking with federal contractors who worked on the Capitol grounds during the 2013 government shutdown. (Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton)
  • President Donald Trump will set up a new office within the Veterans Affairs Department on accountability. The Office of Accountability and Whistleblower Protections will have a leader who will report to VA Secretary David Shulkin. Shulkin said the office will help VA look for barriers that prevent the department from firing poor performers quickly. Trump is expected to visit the VA and sign the executive order today. (Federal News Radio)
  • The Homeland Security Department added horsepower to helping people harmed by undocumented immigrants. Housed in U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the new unit is called VOICE, which stands for Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement Office. DHS Secretary John Kelly called such victims unique and often ignored. He said VOICE is part of carrying out a Trump administration executive order on public safety. It will offer several services to give victims more information about perpetrators and access to assistance. (Department of Homeland Security)
  • A Homeland Security Department program was recognized for its digital transformation. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service changed the direction of its verification program to be more responsive to user and citizen needs. It used the cloud and agile development to modernize components to let users more quickly determine when individuals are eligible for government benefits. The verification system also is used to ensure individuals are authorized to work in the country. For that effort, USCIS earned the top award at the annual Igniting Innovation awards sponsored by ACT-IAC. Four other programs also received awards, including one from USAID and another from USDA. (ACT-IAC)
  • Access to the Social Security Administration’s full death master file, and allowing the IRS to correct tax return errors, are just two of the recommendations made in the Government Accountability Office’s annual report on fragmentation, overlap and duplication at executive branch agencies. The report promises agencies can save billions of dollars if they follow recommendations. The departments of Defense and Health and Human Services, along with the IRS were once again the agencies with the most partially addressed or not addressed actions. (Federal News Radio)
  • The Air Force launched its first bug bounty to test the cybersecurity of its IT systems. Like previous Defense Department bug bounties, white hat hackers will go through a vetting process and then earn cash rewards depending on the number and severity of the bugs they find. But for the first time, this one will allow citizens from four close U.S. allies — Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the U.K. — to enter the competition. Air Force officials said they needed as many global participants as possible in order to reflect real-world cyber threats, but decided to limit international participation to the so-called “five eyes” countries for now. (Department of Defense)
  • The Army’s top personnel officer was nominated as the next vice chief of staff of the Army. Gen. James McConville will serve as Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley’s number two if confirmed by the Senate. McConville will replace Gen. Daniel Allyn, who has been in the vice position since 2014. (U.S. Senate)
  • Democrats in the House and Senate urged Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt keep open one of its regional offices in Chicago. Nearly 40 lawmakers signed a letter to Pruitt highlighting Region 5’s mission to protect the air, drinking water and health of residents in the Great Lakes region. Experts at Region 5 were some of the first to alert officials about elevated lead levels in Flint, Michigan water. (Federal News Radio)