First look at new ideas to modernize Congress

In today's Federal Newscast, the House Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress approved its first round of recommendations.

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  • The House Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress approves its first round of recommendations. They include building a database for all federal agency and program reauthorization deadlines, while also creating a standard format for publishing legislation. Committee Chairman Derek Kilmer (D-Wash.) and Vice Chairman Tom Graves (R-Ga.) said the recommendations are a big step toward making Congress more accessible to the public. (House Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress)
  • More than 1,000 Forest Service employees could lose their jobs in an upcoming reduction in force. Forest Service Chief Vicki Christiansen said the cuts come amid the Agriculture Department’s decision to transfer most of its Job Corps Civilian Conservation Centers to the Labor Department. Christiansen said USDA has proposed closing nine of its 25 centers in an upcoming Federal Register notice. (Federal News Network)
  • President Donald Trump is filling a key law enforcement position. The president intends to nominate Kenneth Canterbury Jr. to be the next director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives in the Justice Department. Canterbury currently serves as president of the National Fraternal Order of Police, a position he has held since 2003. He spent 26 years with the Horry County Police Department in Conway, South Carolina, and also served on the Executive Board of the National Fraternal Order of Police for more than two decades. (White House)
  • Two new military leaders were confirmed by the Senate. Gen. James McConville was confirmed as the next Army chief of staff. He previously served as the Army vice chief of staff under Gen. Mark Milley. The Senate also confirmed Adm. Bill Moran to be the next chief of naval operations. Moran takes over for Adm. John Richardson.
  • A major spare parts supplier agrees to give the government millions of dollars in refunds amid allegations of price gouging. TransDigm Group started the process of paying the Defense Department $16.1 million last week. The decision came just one week after company executives told Congress they were hesitant to issue the refunds because they might be seen as an admission of wrongdoing. The overcharging estimate came from the Pentagon’s inspector general, which said it found excessive profits on almost all of the TransDigm contracts it examined. In one case, markups were more than 4,000%. (Federal News Network)
  • Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) introduced a bill to make digital engineering a core competency in the military. The bill establishes flexible career tracks for coders and allows the military branches to create their own occupational specialties for the position. The bill was inspired by recommendations from the Defense Innovation Board. If the bill passes it will be implemented by 2022. (Sen. Martin Heinrich)
  • One military service kicks off a new software development contract that could be worth $1 billion. The Air Force wants to change the way it develops software and systems for its Integrated Strategic Planning and Analysis Network and its Nuclear Command and Control efforts. The Air Force Life Cycle Management Center issued a request for information seeking industry feedback on its facilitating agile contracts or FALCON multiple award vehicle. Under the proposed five-year contract, the Air Force seeks vendors to provide a host of services, including project management, software and system engineering, testing and more. The goal of FALCON is to transform the center’s software development processes into one that is more rapid, high quality and continuously delivers new capabilities. Responses to the RFI are due June 12. (FedBizOpps)
  • A new idea in the senate looks to determine the best use of radio signals designated to federal agencies. Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) introduced legislation, requiring the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, along with the Office of Management and Budget, to determine the value of electromagnetic spectrum assigned to each agency. (Sen. Mike Lee)
  • One agency is anticipating high demand for its services, and getting ready to supply them. Industry projections say more than a quarter-billion air passengers will pass through Transportation Security Administration checkpoints between now and Labor Day, a record and up 4% from last summer. TSA promises to boost airport staffing by 2,000, coupled with a bump in overtime funds. This as the agency suffers from some of the highest staff turnover rates in the government. (Transportation Security Administration)

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