To listen to the Federal Newscast on your phone or mobile device, subscribe on PodcastOne or iTunes.
The Office of Personnel Management said its new online donation portal for the Combined Federal Campaign hasn’t launched yet because it’s waiting for some CFC charities to get back on their feet after all of the recent hurricanes. OPM said it can’t launch the CFC donation site until they’re ready. The site is scheduled to come online by the end of the month. (Office of Personnel Management)
Federal retirees will get a 2 percent cost-of-living adjustment for 2018. The Social Security Administration will make the adjustment in January. SSA uses the Consumer Price Index to calculate the COLA every year. The National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association is disappointed. It said Social Security should update its formula for calculating growing costs. (National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association)
The contract the IRS had with the credit reporting agency Equifax has been suspended. The temporary suspension of the short-term contract is a precautionary step while the IRS reviews whether any taxpayer data was jeopardized during Equifax’s massive data breach in September. The Government Accountability Office will rule today on Equifax’s bid protest. (Federal News Radio)
The Army has removed its top commander in Africa over allegations of misconduct. Maj. Gen. Joseph Harrington, the commander of U.S. Army Africa, is alleged to have had an improper relationship with the wife of an enlisted soldier. In a statement to the Associated Press, Army officials said they’re looking into allegations that Harrington sent inappropriate messages to the woman, whose husband is stationed at the same base in Italy where Army Africa is headquartered. Harrington is serving in a temporary staff assignment at the Pentagon until the investigation is finished. (Federal News Radio)
A group of House lawmakers has introduced a bill to protect transgender troops in the military. The bill prohibits the Defense Department from firing transgender troops on the basis of their gender identification. A similar bill was introduced by Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.). (Congress.gov)
The House has voted to keep specific IT reform initiatives going. Three key provisions of the Federal IT Acquisition and Reform Act (FITARA) are on the path to getting a new life. The House unanimously passed the FITARA Enhancements Act. The bill stops from expiring provisions around federal data center consolidation, transparency and risk management of major IT systems and IT portfolio, program, and resource reviews, known as PortfolioStat. The legislation extends the data center initiative for another two years, and makes the other two provisions permanent. The Senate is considering an identical bill. (Rep. Gerry Connolly)
Looking to cut $5.6 billion from the fiscal 2018 budget, the Office of Management and Budget has told Congress how it wants to do it. In a letter, OMB Director Mick Mulvaney said most of the money, $4.3 billion, would be from the Energy Department’s advanced technology vehicle manufacturing loan program.
The Small Business Administration has found out where it needs improvement. SBA’s Office of Inspector General laid out its management challenges for the agency in 2018. It makes recommendations in areas such as disaster assistance programs, human capital, and IT leadership. SBA implemented nine out of 30 recommendations last year, and made good progress on 17. (Small Business Administration)
The Department of Health and Human Services has taken steps to make sure federal aid keeps flowing to people affected by the California wildfires. Acting Secretary Eric Hargan declared the fires have caused a public health emergency. He issued temporary waivers to some of the regulations for Medicare, Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program. The waivers let out-of-state doctors receive reimbursement. They let health care providers sidestep certification requirements. HHS declared similar waivers for recent hurricane-affected areas. (Department of Health and Human Services)