USDA narrows down choices for relocation of two bureaus

In today's Federal Newscast, USDA reveals where the agency is looking to relocate the Economic Research Service and National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

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  • The Agriculture Department has narrowed down its list of possible new sites for two of its bureaus. Secretary Sonny Perdue says USDA is considering multiple sites in Indiana, the Kansas City region, and North Carolina’s Research Triangle. St. Louis, Missouri and Madison, Wisconsin are also still in the running, but not part of USDA’s top three. Perdue says the department is considering cost of living, logistics and other factors as it decides to relocate employees of the Economic Research Service and National Institute of Food and Agriculture. (U.S. Department of Agriculture)
  • The Pentagon will be asking Congress for specific appropriations to procure software. The suggestion comes from a new report from the Defense Innovation Board on speeding up software acquisition. The report also says the military services need to work together in testing and optimizing software and getting more coders to work for them. (Federal News Network)
  • DoD will partner with the Office of Personnel Management in its ongoing efforts to streamline training and reskilling its employees. It’s agreed to use OPM’s USALearning platform. It’s part of the Pentagon’s effort to simplify how it evaluates training and development tracks and courses for its civilian employees and active-duty members. DoD says it expects to save $22 million in the first year of the USALearning partnership. (Federal News Network)
  • GSA’s $5.5 billion IT products contract has come under protest. A small business is alleging the General Services Administration violated the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010 with its second generation IT or 2GIT multiple award contract. Coast to Coast Computers filed a pre-award bid protest with the Government Accountability Office in April. The California company says GSA is attempting to consolidate the buying of IT products under 2GIT without doing an impact analysis. Coast to Coast also says the self scoring evaluation factors are flawed because it gives too many points to partnerships with resellers. GAO has until July 31 to decide the protest. (Federal News Network)
  • Congress is starting a new women veterans task force. Democratic Congresswoman Julia Brownley (D-Calif.) announces the launch within the House’s Veterans Affairs Committee. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) will spearhead the group in the Senate. The task forces will examine how VA can better help women veterans transition from military to civilian life, and how the agency can better serve the population. (Rep. Julia Brownley)
  • There were no fatalities when a passenger plane overshot the runway at Naval Air Station Jacksonville this weekend, but the military airport is essentially shut down for the time being. The base’s commanding officer says the field is closed to arriving flights until the Navy and the National Transportation Safety Board determine the next steps for removing the Boeing 737 from the St. Johns River. The flight was inbound from the naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba Friday night when it ran out of runway and entered the water. The NTSB says the charter flight’s pilots made a last-minute change to a shorter runway at the air station, but for now, investigators can’t say whether that decision was a factor in the accident. (Federal News Network)
  • A new bill in the Senate looks to improve customer feedback for agencies. The Federal Agency Customer Experience act would require the Office of Management and Budget, and the General Services Administration, to develop surveys for agencies to periodically send out to their customers. The bill would also require agencies to publicly post their feedback online. Congressmen Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.) are expected to introduce companion legislation. (Sen. Maggie Hassan)
  • The Government Operations Subcommittee is holding a field hearing today on the effect the Government Shutdown had on Federal Contractors. The 35 day government shutdown that started at the end of 2018 was the longest shutdown in the federal government’s history. While federal employees were impacted, it’s estimated some 800,000 contractors from 10,000 companies felt the effects as well. While federal employees received back pay for the days they were furloughed, many contractors did not. The hearing will focus on possible legislative solutions for that issue. (House Oversight and Reform Committee)
  • Mark Greenblatt, the president’s permanent pick for Interior Department inspector general, told members of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee he has “zero intention” of shutting down ongoing conflict of interest probes at the agency. Those probes include Secretary David Bernhardt and other senior agency leadership. Prior to his nomination Greenblatt held OIG positions at the departments of Justice and Commerce. (Federal News Network)
  • President Trump says he’ll nominate former Border Patrol chief Mark Morgan to serve as the next permanent head of Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Prior to serving as head of Border Patrol under the Obama administration, Morgan worked as an FBI agent. Last month, Trump withdrew his previous nominee, Ronald Vitiello, from consideration. (President Donald Trump)
  • Public Service Recognition Week 2019 kicks off with a presidential recognition and a congressional resolution highlighting the important work of federal employees. This 34th annual week-long celebration includes the announcement of the finalists for the Service to America Medals. Federal News Network is joining the celebration by letting anyone send a deserving federal employee a free e-card as part of our May We Say Thank You initiative. Find more details at

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