Final version of NDAA passes the House, brings pay raise a little closer

In today's Federal Newscast, the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act cleared the House, bringing service members one step closer to a pay raise.

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  • Service members are one step closer to a 2.6 percent increase in pay next year. The House passed the final version of the defense authorization bill. The legislation makes vast reforms to the military promotion system and directs the Defense Department to find ways to cut fourth estate spending. The Senate is expected to take up the bill in August. (House Armed Services Committee)
  • One senator is optimistic Congress will actually get its budget work done in time for the start of fiscal 2019. It would be a first in recent memory, but Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) said there’s a good chance of appropriations before Oct.1. Kaine said lawmakers are moving quickly in a way Congress hasn’t in a while. He credited the two-year budget agreement hammered out back in March and said he believes President Donald Trump will sign what Congress sends him. (Federal News Radio)
  • The Army spent $78 million in Afghanistan on a contract it’s not sure was ever fulfilled. A DoD Inspector General report found poor oversight left the Army unsure if it got proper services on maintenance of vehicles and weapons. The Army originally awarded the contract to AC First LLC in 2016. (Department of Defense Office of Inspector General)
  • The Defense Department is sticking with a controversial winner-take-all approach to its multi-billion dollar contract for cloud computing services. In a final request for proposals, the Pentagon confirmed it will make just one award for the so-called JEDI contract, which is worth up to $10 billion up to 10 years. Some contractors and industry groups have warned that DoD was limiting competition and access to innovation by going the single award route, but defense officials said they need a single contract to pursue an enterprise approach to cloud adoption. (Federal News Radio)
  • The Office of Personnel Management is advancing its plans to move its fee for service HR Solutions office out of the agency and to the General Services Administration. Both agencies formed task forces to review the move. OPM Director Jeff Pon said moving retirement and health services to GSA may happen later in 2021 or 2022. They said the move can happen administratively and without congressional approval. Both agencies are studying if they need congressional help to enact other reorganization proposals. (Federal News Radio)
  • The number of employees working at GSA’s headquarters building will grow by 1,000 over the next year. Administrator Emily Murphy told staff that GSA will consolidate its National Capital Region office into its main building on F Street NW in Washington, D.C. Murphy said the move is to save money and to maximize the space. She said the primary drivers of this relocation are the potential for significant cost savings and the need to maximize the space in two valuable federal assets. (Federal News Radio)
  • A bipartisan pair of lawmakers look to revive the IRS’ Oversight Board. Sens. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Ben Cardin (D-Md.) introduced the Protecting Taxpayers Act to streamline the way the board brings on new members. The group suspended operations in 2015 after it lacked enough members to reach a quorum. Portman and Cardin’s bill would also give the board more authority over agency management issues. National Taxpayer Advocate Nina Olson said the board has often clashed with agency leadership. (Federal News Radio)
  • The cloud security process known as FedRAMP, short for Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program, is getting renewed congressional attention. Frustrated by a lack of agency buy in, poor metrics and duplicative processes, Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) is taking action to improve the lengthy and costly authorization requirements for cloud service providers. The Virginia Democrat introduced the FedRAMP Reform Act. The bill would streamline the current process, address agency compliance issues and establish new metrics for implementation. GSA and OMB also would have to submit a report to Congress on the program’s progress and challenges. (Rep. Gerry Connolly)
  • Less than two years out from the start of the 2020 population count, the Census Bureau has improved its scheduling for two major components of the project. The Government Accountability Office found the agency made positive changes to its coordination of address canvassing, and following up with households that did not respond to the census since its last audit in 2013. That’s compared to an audit GAO did in 2013. The Census Bureau gave members of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee an update on its IT systems in a closed-door briefing last week. (Government Accountability Office)

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