Congressmen seek to assure feds, service members are paid during shutdown

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  • With the odds of a government shutdown rising, two members of Congress said they are looking to make sure federal employees are taken care of. Reps. Don Beyer (D-Va.) and Rob Wittman (R-Va.) have re-introduced a bill to guarantee federal employees back pay if that happens. Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) introduced similar companion bills before in his chamber as well. The current continuing resolution expires at midnight tonight. (Federal News Radio)
  • Rep. Ralph Norman (R-SC) has introduced a bill to ensure service members are paid even if the government shuts down. Congress passed a similar bill when the government shutdown in 2013. Air Force Undersecretary Matthew Donovan said the fact that the bill was even introduced is bad news for coming to a budget deal and avoiding a shutdown. (Rep. Ralph Norman)
  • Federal employees have expressed pessimism that a partial shutdown of the government is more likely now than it was last month.  Nearly 70 percent of more than 1,900 respondents to a new Federal News Radio online survey said a partial government shutdown is “very likely” or “somewhat likely” to happen this weekend. In December, only 48% felt that way. (Federal News Radio)
  • The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has extended Temporary Protected Status for Haitians and Salvadorans in the United States.  It lets them re-register to maintain eligibility to work. Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said the programs will expire in July 2019 for Haitans, and September 2019 for Salvadorans, because disaster conditions in those countries eased. (U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services)
  • The Air Force said is will conduct a top-to-bottom review of its programs to see where it can free up money in its budget. Under Secretary Matthew Donovan said the review will look at the cost efficiency of each program and determine how each of them enhances the Air Force’s lethality. The Air Force hasn’t had a review of this size in about 20 years. Meanwhile, Donovan urged Congress to pass a full fiscal 2018 budget as soon as possible. (Federal News Radio)
  • The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has found security risks in the plan to outfit defense aircraft with tracking technology. Even though the Defense Department (DoD)would like to know where it’s planes are at all times, it needs to make sure U.S. adversaries don’t. GAO said DOD and the Federal Aviation Administration need a way to keep the tracking information from falling in the wrong hands, since the Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast technology could be vulnerable to cyber attacks. (Government Accountability Office)
  • DoD’s nominee for undersecretary of research and engineering has put his weight behind Obama era initiatives some feared had fallen by the wayside. Michael Griffin voiced support for efforts like the Defense Innovation Unit Experimental and the Strategic Capabilities Office, to maintain the United States’ military technology edge. (Federal News Radio)
  • The National Commission on Military, National and Public Service has officially launched. The 11 presidentially-appointed members will travel across the country to collect public feedback on their perceptions of the military, and other civilian service programs. The commission will develop a series of recommendations and deliver them to Congress and the president by March 2020. The commission will study the state of selective service, and the role for women in the military. (Federal News Radio)
  • The National Institutes of Health (NIH) said it is looking for help in putting its electronic Research Administration grants management system in the cloud. NIH released a draft statement of work detailing 16 assorted tasks for a vendor to provide. NIH currently hosts the eRA system in house. NIH said it receives more than 157,000 grant applications annually that are worth more than $30 billion. The five-year contract could be worth as much as $75 million. Comments on the draft RFP are due by Feb. 2. (Federal News Radio)

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