Report: Shutdown is costing U.S. economy $430 million a day

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  • The partial government shutdown is costing the nation’s economy more than $430 million a day or $13 billion a month. The Ascent, the Motley Fool’s personal finance service, analyzed the loss of salary from federal workers, and the loss of income substitution provided through Agriculture’s SNAP programs. The Ascent says Texas, California and Virginia will take the biggest economic hits. (The Ascent)
  • Civilian federal employees will not receive their first paycheck of 2019. Paychecks are due today or over the weekend, but agencies can’t pay their employees without an appropriations or short-term spending deal. A senior administration official confirmed, Coast Guard military will miss their paychecks due Jan. 15 or soon after. The Coast Guard worked with the Office of Management and Budget to uncover unused funds from the last continuing resolution, to pay the military workforce at the end of December. (Federal News Network)
  • President Trump said he’ll sign standalone legislation to guarantee back pay to federal employees during this government shutdown. The Senate unanimously passed the Government Employee Fair Treatment Act. The bill specified that agencies should make sure paychecks go out as soon as the government reopens, not whenever the next pay period is. The House included retroactive back pay in the appropriations bill it passed earlier this week. It differs slightly from the Senate’s version. (Congress.gov)
  • Federal employees in the DC metro area can take advantage of a handful of special discounts and offers. Washington Gas will offer “flexible payment arrangements” for federal employees affected by the shutdown. And the Justice Federal Credit Union will offer short-term loans to the Justice Department and Department of Homeland Security employees feeling the pinch. The Alamo Drafthouse chain of movie theaters will let feds watch free movies Monday through Thursday. (Federal News Network)
  • Agencies should restore use-or-lose annual leave federal employees forfeited at the end of 2018 due to the government shutdown. The Office of Personnel Management clarified that the shutdown gives agencies reason to restore previously-scheduled leave. All leave is canceled during a government shutdown. That means employees who had planned to take annual leave during the holidays at the end of last year, had to forfeit the time. (Federal News Network)
  • Hundreds of federal employees rallied yesterday for an end to the partial government shutdown. They protested outside the AFL-CIO headquarters in D.C. They say the government shutdown is “holding their pay hostage.” Several Democratic members of Congress spoke at the rally and encouraged them to make their frustrations heard. Most civilian employees will miss their next scheduled paycheck today. (Federal News Network)
  • The Army Corps of Engineers will scour its budget for unspent money that might get diverted to the president’s proposed border wall. It’s looking increasingly likely that the president will declare an emergency to bypass the congressional impasse over the wall. So far, attention has focused on using DoD’s unspent military construction and family housing funds. But administration officials said they’ve also told the Army Corps to look for unobligated dollars that had been allocated for disaster relief after wildfires and hurricanes over the past several years. (Federal News Network)
  • It’s only one, but the Air Force has accepted the first of a brand new class of airplanes. Two years overdue and still buggy, the first KC-46A Pegasus aerial refueling tanker entered the Air Force Fleet yesterday. The plane, derived from the Boeing 767, is the first of a planned acquisition of at least 80 tankers. Air Force officials said Boeing will pay to fix deficiencies in its remote vision system. A formal ceremony will take place later this month. (Associated Press)
  • The Air Force’s experimental software development shop, Kessel Run, will hire fifty people during an event in Boston later this month. The program is looking for everything from an associate director to software engineers and contracting specialists. Kessel Run is working on some of the Air Force’s most cutting-edge technological challenges in the Air Force today, including F-35 software and the Global Air Operations Weapons System. (Air Force)
  • The Army wants to hold on to its medical research arm instead of giving it over to the Defense Health Agency and it’s asking Congress for help. Army acquisition chief Bruce Jette said the service needs its Medical Research and Materiel Command to conduct specific studies that are of interest to the Army. A 2019 law will migrate the command to the Defense Health Agency. Jette said the Army deploys to areas where rare diseases are prevalent and it needs its own medical research to protect itself from those diseases. (Federal News Network)
  • A bill that would standardize agencies’ grant data gets another chance in Congress. Congresswoman Virgina Foxx (R-N.C.) re-introduced her Grant Reporting Efficiency and Agreements Transparency, or GREAT Act. The bill passed the House in September, but never got a full Senate vote. The bill would require agencies to report grant spending in an open-data format, similar to what the 2014 DATA Act did for agency spending data. (Congress.gov)
  • The Department of Health and Human Services’ Program Support Center wants to make it easier for agencies to buy intelligent automation and/or artificial intelligence technologies. PSC will create a new multiple award contract to help agencies quickly develop, procure and adopt innovative technologies around automation, machine learning and other emerging areas. The contract is focused across five task areas, including applied ideation and engineering, and test and evaluation services. The five-year contract vehicle has a ceiling of $49 million. Bids are due Jan. 30. (FedBizOpps)

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