Hatch cancels plan to end TSP catch-up contributions

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  • Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah),  the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee,  has dropped a proposed amendment to the Republican-led tax reform bill to restrict “catch-up” contributions to Thrift Savings accounts.  Under current law, federal employees age 50 and older are allowed to make an additional $6,000 in yearly contributions to TSP retirement savings accounts, on top of the annual  $18,000 limit ($18,500 in 2018) to boost retirement savings. (Benefits Pro/Senate Finance)

 

  • The Office of Personnel Management has signed new agreements for reduced tuition rates and scholarships for federal employees at Catholic University, Pace University, Park University and Utica College. Some of the deals extend the benefits to spouses and dependents. The higher ed institutions will offer courses in acquisition, human resources and auditing. Find more information at OPM.gov. (OPM)

 

  • Military families have reported their top concern is not having enough time  together. Family time has surpassed pay and benefits in the latest Blue Star Families Lifestyle Survey.  Other concerns noted in the survey: Two-thirds of military families said they could not find reliable daycare, or help for children trying to cope with the unique challenges of military life. Another statistic new to the survey this year found a majority of military families feel they don’t belong in their local civilian communities. (Federal News Radio)

 

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  • The Senate has confirmed President Donald Trump’s third pick to be secretary of the Army.  The approval of former top Raytheon lobbyist Mark Esper means all three military departments now have Senate-confirmed secretaries for the first time in the Trump administration. The president’s first two picks for the Army’s top civilian job were forced to withdraw. Vincent Viola dropped out because of financial entanglements, and Mark Green stepped down amid a political controversy about remarks he had made about Muslims and LGBT Americans. (Federal News Radio)

 

  • Members of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform have pledged their help in securing testimonial subpoena power for the inspector general community.  During a hearing to examine IG recommendations and reforms, Rep. Steve Russell (R-Okla.) said he was honored to take the lead on giving IGs “the proper tools” to do their job.  Subpoena power is one of five legislative priorities still outstanding after last year’s passage of the Inspector General Empowerment Act, which gives IG’s new powers to access evidence for their investigations.  (Federal News Radio)

 

  • The Department of Veterans Affairs said it is close to wrapping up contract negotiations with the Cerner Corporation for a new electronic health record system. It will be a 10-year deal, and will be implemented across 1,600 VA facilities and community providers. The new record-keeping system is the same deployed by the Defense Department.  VA Secretary David Shulkin said it will take 18 months for the first system to go online and seven or eight years to fully implement. (Federal News Radio)

 

  • Nick Rasmussen, the director of the National Counterterrorism Center, has decided to leave federal service at the end of the year. Rasmussen has been the director of the center since 2014. Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats made the announcement Wednesday, adding that Ramussen’s deputy director, Russ Travers, will serve as acting director until President Trump nominates a permanent replacement. (Director of National Intelligence)

 

  • The Trump administration had made what was a previously secret process for disclosing software vulnerabilities more transparent. Rob Joyce, the White House cyber coordinator, announced Wednesday new details about how the government decides which software bugs to tell the vendor about and which ones to keep secret for use by the intelligence or law enforcement agencies. Joyce said the White House is releasing the eight broad factors the Equities Review Board uses to make disclosure decisions. He said the government already discloses more than 90 percent of all problems.   (White House)

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