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A Senate companion exists now for the Federal Employee Paid Leave Act. Democrats Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) and Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) introduced the Senate version. The bill would give federal employees up to 12 weeks of paid leave for the birth, adoption or foster placement of a new child. Federal employees could also use this leave to care for sick family members. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) introduced the House version back in March. Her version currently has 27 co-sponsors, including two Republicans. (Congress.gov)
Security clearance processing will cost the same amount in 2020 despite a major overhaul. The Defense Department said prices won’t change in spite of the upcoming transfer of the security clearance program from the Office of Personnel Management to the Pentagon. DoD said the new Defense Counterintelligence and Security Agency should be operational by Oct. 1. But it will begin handling background investigations in phases based on the deployment of new IT systems. (Federal News Network)
The nation’s military reserve components say more money and personnel are necessary to ensure their troops are ready to deploy. Leaders from the five components told lawmakers they will use fiscal 2020 appropriations to modernize systems and infrastructure, continue readiness efforts and put more into their troops’ mental health. National Guard Bureau Chief Joseph Lengyel told the Senate Appropriations Committee the reserve troops reinforce the connection between the American people and their military. (Senate Appropriations Committee)
Congress will soon start debating how much money DoD will get in 2020. The House Armed Services Committee made plans to finish up its work on the 2020 defense authorization bill by mid-June and the Senate Armed Services Committee plans to work on its version of the bill next month. This year’s bill will take up some contentious issues, including whether Congress will authorize the $750 billion budget DoD requested for 2020. The bill will also likely address adding the Space Force as a sixth branch of the military.
The Air Force will hold its second Pitch Day this fall focused on issues regarding space, according to the service’s acquisition chief Will Roper. Pitch Day is an Air Force initiative to listen to companies’ innovative ideas and then award a contract the same day. The goal is to expand the service’s industry base and shorten time to market. (Federal News Network)
About a quarter of all federal leases held by the General Services Administration, will expire within the next two years. This gives the Public Building Service a chance to renegotiate for longer-term leases at a lower rate. Alison Azevedo, PBS assistant commissioner for leasing, said the agency remains on track to achieve $4 billion in cost savings by the end of 2023 through its real estate portfolio. After an 18-month review of its leasing portfolio, she said PBS has only renegotiated 30-40% of its federal leases when they were set to expire. (Federal News Network)
GSA is also trying to bring some consistency to the more than 30,000 websites the government runs. The Technology Transformation Service at GSA released new web design standards to make it easier for agencies to create modular, accessible and mobile friendly websites. The U.S. Web Design System 2.0 is a library of code, tools and guidance to help agencies design and build websites backed by user research and modern best practices. Among the biggest changes in version 2.0 is the use of an open source font and a way to make sure colors are Section 508 compliant. More than 200 websites currently use the first version of USWDS. (General Services Administration)
The State Department has filled more than 90 percent of the recommendations made by the Government Accountability Office since fiscal 2014. GAO reported the agency has checked off 10 of the 20 priority recommendations it made in February of last year. However, GAO added eight more priority recommendations, bringing the new total to 18. Unmet recommendations include the greater security for overseas personnel and facilities, moving off of legacy IT systems, and improving the quality of the agency’s foreign assistance data. (Government Accountability Office)
Agencies have made progress in one of the most enduring management objectives: It’s data center consolidation, an imperative dating at least to the Clinton administration. The GAO estimated that since 2010, agencies closed more than 6,000 data centers, saving about $2.5 billion. But auditors said the savings still fall short of White House’s set goals. Eleven of 24 agencies fell short of their closure goals. And everyone is having trouble meeting targets for data center efficiency. (Government Accountability Office)
A new bill looks to strengthen the Federal Advisory Committees with stricter ethics requirements and more transparency. Senators Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.) introduced the Federal Advisory Committee Act Amendments. It would require agencies to solicit members publicly and agency ethics officers to review members of the committee. There are more than 1,000 FACAs across government. (Sen. Rob Portman)