Social Security’s death records continue to be inaccurate

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  • The Social Security Advisory Board has recommended shifting the work of updating the agency’s Death Master File to the Treasury Department. The board found SSA has been unable to guarantee the accuracy of deaths it records. It blamed tightening administrative budgets. The board said the agency wrongfully records about 8,000 living people as deceased annually. The Government Accountability Office has recently recommended SSA share its Death Master File with Treasury to curb improper payments. (Social Security)
  • The Merit Systems Protection Board is one step away from achieving a quorum, something it has lacked for a while. The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee gave its unanimous approval to Chad Bungard, the President’s nominee to be the third member on the MSPB. The full Senate will likely vote on Bungard’s nomination together with the administration’s two other board nominees. All three spots on the board’s central panel have been vacant since March. It has been without a quorum, paralyzing its ability to issue decisions for two and a half years. (Senate/HSGAC)
  • Employees at the Office of Personnel Management may face furloughs if Congress doesn’t advance and support the administration’s merger with the General Services Administration. A senior administration official sailed furloughs may be inevitable if Congress doesn’t advance the GSA merger or if it doesn’t approve permanent full year funding for 2020 by the end of this fiscal year. Acting OPM Director Margaret Weichert told Federal News Network furloughs are a last resort, but may be necessary when the agency loses its security clearance business to the Defense Department. (Federal News Network)
  • The new local union representing employees at the Economic Research Service has demanded a freeze on relocations to Kansas City until the Agriculture Department comes to the bargaining table. The American Federation of Government Employees wrote to USDA saying it wants the department to guarantee relocation benefits and incentive payments before moving forward with relocations. USDA tells Federal News Network…. it has and will continue to work with the union.  (Federal News Network)
  • In a move sure to provoke reaction from Congress, the Environmental Protection Agency has finalized a major rule change, reversing an Obama-era rule known as the Clean Power Plan. Saying the new power plant air standards restore the rule of law, the Trump administration executive order had the EPA review the rule and come up with a new one. The new Affordable Clean Energy Rule gives states more authority to regulate coal power plants. (EPA)
  • The former CEO of two military contractors has pleaded guilty to falsifying documents. James O’Brien of Fredericksburg, Virginia admitted to altering letters of authorization for himself and his employees to take advantage of no cost travel benefits. In particular, O’Brien and his employees at Tamerlane Global Services and Artemis Global Services used the falsified documents that are required for contractors to be deployed to Afghanistan. They also set forth government-provided benefits, such as military air travel, that the contractors may utilize at no cost while deployed. O’Brian’s sentence has not been scheduled. (Justice)
  • The Pentagon said it is cracking down on price gouging in its spare parts contracts, and it’s targeting one specific contractor. A new policy memo directs all of DoD’s contracting officers to insist on cost data when they’re dealing with contracts with the TransDigm group. A recent Inspector General audit found the company routinely marked up its prices, often with quadruple digit profit margins. The memo is highly unusual in that it targets one specific company. The IG tells Federal News Network it’s a good start, but doesn’t address broader policy issues in the spare parts market that go well beyond TransDigm. (DoD)
  • The National Institutes of Standards and Technology (NIST) said it is willing to help to government vendors who face an ever-increasing barrage of cyber attacks. NIST has released a draft special publication outlining 34 steps across 14 families of controls to better protect systems and data from advanced persistent threats. NIST said the enhanced security requirements protect the integrity of information by promoting a penetration resistant architecture, by limiting damage to federal and contractor operations and by designing for cyber resiliency and survivability. Comments are due by July 19. (NIST)
  • The Boeing Company said it will relocate the headquarters of its Space and Launch operations from its current base near the Pentagon to Florida’s Space Coast. Behind the move is Boeing’s two big space programs — the CST-100 Starline commercial spacecraft and NASA’s launch system for future missions to the Moon — are ready to move from development to operations. The move will include current Space and Launch Senior Vice President Jim Chilton, his executive team and support staff. Boeing’s Defense, Space & Security business will continue to be headquartered in Arlington, north of Crystal City. (WTOP)

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