USPS may start delivering alcohol for extra money

In today's Federal Newscast, a new bill in the House calls for allowing the Postal Service to deliver alcohol to consumers.

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  • Amid pressure from lawmakers and the White House for the Postal Service to modernize its business model, Congresswoman Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) wants it to deliver alcohol to consumers. Speier introduced a new bill she says will bring in millions of new revenue, by allowing the Postal Service to tap into a market which totaled $3 billion last year. Several postal unions, including the National Association of Letter Carriers, have endorsed the bill. (Rep. Jackie Speier)
  • The first audit to see if the Office of Personnel Management is complying with the Federal IT Acquisition Reform Act, or FITARA, showed serious shortcomings in several areas. OPM’s inspector general says the chief information officer needs to be more involved in both the budgeting and acquisition of technology across the agency. The IG made five recommendations, including for OPM to develop a process to ensure the CIO approves all IT reprogramming plans. (Office of Personnel Management Office of Inspector General)
  • Agency progress in moving to the cloud remains a mixed bag. 11% of all federal IT investments from 16 civilian agencies are in the cloud this year. This is a 2% increase over 2018. A new report from the Government Accountability Office reviewed agency progress in moving applications and systems to the cloud. Auditors found 10 of the 16 agencies GAO reviewed increased their cloud usage by as much as 20% since 2016, while four agencies, including the departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs, actually saw decreases in the percentage of systems in the cloud. GAO says the move to cloud saved these 16 agencies almost $300 million over the last four years. (Government Accountability Office)
  • The Defense Department has more cloud computing projects than any other federal agency. But so far, it can’t document any savings from its moves to the cloud. The Government Accountability Office says the government as a whole needs to do a better job of complying with OMB mandates to report cost savings from the 2011 Cloud First policy. But DoD didn’t begin to track its cloud spending until 2016, and GAO says it still can’t document any savings or cost avoidance from 115 cloud investments. In their official response, the department said cost savings are beside the point: it’s moving to the cloud mainly for technological reasons. (Government Accountability Office)
  • The Treasury Department will not be able to keep borrowing from the Thrift Savings Plan’s G Fund to finance the government much longer. The agency says it will exhaust that ability by the second half of 2019. It’s urging Congress to increase the nation’s borrowing authority. The department and TSP assure the G Fund will be paid back with interest once that happens. (Department of Treasury)
  • Seeking what it calls urgent change at a significant scale, the National Nuclear Security Administration reset its strategy. NNSA issued new versions of its strategic vision, its governance and management, and a roadmap for reaching its goals. Administrator Lisa Gordon-Hagerty said a changing threat environment, an aging weapons stockpile, and new science and technology drive the fresh approach to securing the nation’s nuclear assets. She called for sustained modernization investment to replace short-term fixes, to avoid rendering the stockpile irrelevant to national defense. (Department of Energy)
  • New bargaining proposals from the Veterans Affairs Department are not being received well by the American Federation of Government Employees. The new proposals cut 24 existing contract articles and tweak other policies on telework, leave, reassignments and relocations. AFGE has scheduled 18 weeks of negotiations on these proposals throughout the year. (Federal News Network)
  • The Trump administration recognized five teams and three individuals with a new customer service award. The Office of Management and Budget announced the winners of the Gears of Government President’s Awards for employees who worked in mission support functions, yet had a role in serving the pubic everyday. (Federal News Network)
  • Senator Tom Carper (D-DE) asked the Office of Special Counsel, to determine whether senior counselor to the president Kellyanne Conway violated the Hatch Act during a recent TV interview. Carper said Conway’s comments on former vice president Joe Biden’s 2020 campaign amounted to using her official position for political speech restricted under the act. The OSC determined Conway violated the Hatch Act twice back in 2017, for comments she made about the Senate special election in Alabama. (Sen. Tom Carper)
  • A former linguist for the FBI was arrested for lying to investigators in the midst of a terrorism case. The Justice Department alleges Abdirizak Wehelie intentionally misidentified his own voice which was captured when a terrorism suspect left a voicemail message on his cell phone, and then made several false statements when questioned about it. If convicted, he faces a maximum of 25 years in prison. (Department of Justice)

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