OMB director hits Capitol Hill hoping to hammer out 2018 budget


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  • Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director Mick Mulvaney visited Capitol Hill today to figure out a fiscal 2018 budget. With a third continuing resolution  set to expire on Jan. 19, the White House appeared to be pushing for a clean funding bill for 2018 and a two-year agreement around budget caps. President Donald Trump urged Democrats to adhere to the so-called Schumer rule where spending bills are not used to advance political agendas.


  • Office of Personnel Management (OPM) has invoked the emergency leave transfer program (ELTP) for  a second time.  And again, it is the result of the California wildfires.  The program allows applicants for emergency leave donated — or transferred – by federal employees.   This isecond use of the program due to the fires comes after one created back in October, meaning OPM and OMB have declared recent fires as a separate disasters. OPM is directing individual agencies to figure out how much time off impacted employees need.   (Chief Human Capital Officers Council)


  • Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Chief Privacy Officer Phillip Kaplan has notified nearly 250,000 DHS employees they can receive 18 months of free credit monitoring in the wake of revelations of a privacy breach at the Office of Inspector General (OIG).  The notice ccame after investigators found an OIG employee had unauthorized copies of DHS records on a home computer server last May. (Federal News Radio)


  • The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) said it has developed a new cybersecurity vision for the more than 15,000 pieces of transportation security equipment deployed at airports across the nation. TSA issued its Strategic Five-Year Technology Investment Plan Biennial Refresh. Under that new strategy, TSA said it wants to implement a defense-in-depth security architecture, continuous cybersecurity monitoring, and enhanced operational capabilities targeted at maintaining a secure technology environment. The agency also developed a cloud computing security handbook. TSA said it expects to publish the handbook  in the coming weeks. (FedBizOpps)


  • The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) acted properly when it put one of its employees  on indefinite suspension.  In so ordering, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit upheld a  decision from the Merit Systems Protection Board that current statutes allow an agency to suspend employees it believes might be subject to imprisonment or fines. in this case, Cathedral Henderson, a GS-13 program analyst at VA’s Health Eligibility Center in Atlanta, had been indicted by a federal grand jury on 50 counts of making false statements. He ordered VA employees under his direction to close more than 2,700 unresolved authorizations for veterans when Henderson knew the department hadn’t completed those consultations, the court’s opinion read.  (Federal News Radio)


  • A new report to Congress said there’s been an upswing in federal bid protests in recent years, but added the outcome of those cases hasn’t changed. The findings by the RAND Corporation argued strongly against the notion that companies are filing frivolous protests. In almost half of all protests, the government responded by correcting or changing its procurement decisions, a trend that has stayed steady since 2008. RAND also found that protests are very rare. Only 0.6 percent of contracts are ever challenged before the Government Accountability Office or the Court of Federal Claims. (Federal News Radio)


  • Two more key Defense acquisition leaders have been named by the Trump administration. The White House said the president plans to nominate Will Roper as the assistant secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition. Roper currently leads the Defense Department’s (DoD) Strategic Capabilities Office. President Trump also picked Kevin Fahey to be the assistant secretary of Defense for acquisition. Fahey is a longtime Army acquisition official who currently works as an executive at Cypress International, a Defense consulting firm. (White House)


  • Scott Anderson is the new regional administrator of the General Services Administration’s (GSA)  National Capital Region. Anderson previously was director of services delivery and property management for George Washington University. He will oversee all of GSA’s operations in the Washington, D.C. metro area, including management of federal real estate and information technology.  GSA also  named Bruno Kelpsas to serve as the regional administrator of GSA’s Northwest Arctic Region. (General Services Administration)


  • Attorney General Jeff Sessions has used his authority to fill some vacancies under the Vacancies Reform Act. Sessions named 17 federal prosecutors to interim terms as U.S. attorneys. Many have been serving in acting capacities but reach their limits today. Sessions said the interim appointments are crucial to continued crime-fighting and civil litigation. Among them is Geoffrey Berman, now with Greenberg-Traurig, for the Manhattan district. Berman worked the Iran-Contra case as associate independent council in the late 1980s. (Department of Justice)

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