Justice Dept. suing New Jersey over immigration policy

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  • An intergovernmental immigration dispute is headed to court. The Justice Department filed a lawsuit against New Jersey, its governor Philip Murphy, and its Attorney General Gurbir Grewal. Justice is challenging a New Jersey law enforcement policy DoJ says obstructs federal immigration enforcement. The policy bars state officials from sharing, with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement the immigration status and release dates of people in custody. It also requires New Jersey police to tell detained people whether ICE has filed detainer requests for them. Justice cites the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution. (Department of Justice)
  • President Trump proposed a 1% pay raise for federal employees in 2021. The plan freezes locality pay adjustments at 2020 levels. The Trump administration says it will also allow agencies to dedicate more of their own funding to performance-based awards for their employees. The president included the proposal in the alternative pay plan he submitted to Congress months earlier than expected. Most presidents submit alternative pay plans but wait until close to an August deadline. (Federal News Network)
  • Several familiar proposals to cut federal retirement benefits are part of the president’s 2021 budget request. The president proposed phasing in higher employee contributions by 1 % each year, until both employees and agencies are contributing the same amount. It also eliminates cost-of-living adjustments for participants in the Federal Employee Retirement System, and cutting the special Social Security supplement for employees who retire before age 62. The president says these proposals are designed to save several billion dollars over ten years, and bring federal employee benefits in line with the private sector. (Federal News Network)
  • The Trump administration says it’ll reskill or upskill 400,000 federal employees in 2021. The training goal is part of the president’s 2021 budget proposal. The administration says it’ll focus reskilling efforts first on developing mission critical skillsets, and then developing new skills for employees whose jobs are replaceable with emerging technology. The initiative will expand existing governmentwide reskilling pilots and academies… but will also work with agencies to pilot their own reskilling programs. (Federal News Network)
  • The Trump administration’s budget request has proposed doubling civilian federal agencies’ spending on artificial intelligence and quantum information research by fiscal 2022. U.S. Chief Technology Officer Michael Kratsios said the White House will release what agencies actually spent on AI research last year in a budget supplement this summer. The Defense Department would also get $841 million in A-I spending in the president’s budget request, up from $780 million this year. (Federal News Network)
  • The federal IT budget request hits a new all-time high. The White House is asking Congress for the largest information technology budget ever, driven, in part, by the need to move to shared services and to continue the modernization of federal systems and applications. President Donald Trump’s fiscal 2021 budget asks for $92.1 billion, up from $91.9 billion in 2020 and $88.7 billion in 2019. Additionally, the White House requested $18.8 billion for governmentwide cybersecurity funding, down slightly from this year. (Federal News Network)
  • The Trump administration is requesting $705 billion to fund the Defense Department for 2021. The budget continues DoD’s trend of historic research and development budgets. The request asks for $106.5 billion for emerging technologies and prototyping. The Pentagon also wants a 3% pay raise for military service members. The budget gives $15 billion to the newly minted Space Force. That money comes directly from Air Force funds. (Federal News Network)
  • Amazon is asking for permission to gather testimony from President Trump himself as part of its lawsuit challenging the Pentagon’s JEDI Cloud contract. Amazon Web Services says it’s seeking depositions from the president, former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, current Defense Secretary Mark Esper and several other officials. It’s also requesting numerous documents and emails from the Defense Department as part of the discovery process in the bid protest lawsuit. Attorneys say they believe the legal disclosures would help it prove the company’s allegations that the JEDI award was tainted by improper political influence. (Federal News Network)
  • President Trump’s budget looks to give the General Services Administration more authority to help other agencies dispose of unwanted property. The budget document says the White House will send a legislative proposal to Congress, that would allow GSA to use its Disposal Fund to help other agencies get rid of unneeded real property. Agencies would use proceeds from the sale of that excess property to pay back the GSA fund. (White House)
  • Veterans Affairs says it’s delaying the rollout of its multibillion dollar electronic health record. The system was to have rolled out at its first site in Spokane, Washington next month. But officials now say they need more time to configure the EHR and train medical staff on how to use it. VA says it will release an updated deployment schedule in the “coming weeks.” (Federal News Network)
  • A former federal contractor has been sentenced to 57 months in prison and forced to pay restitution of more than $3 million for his role in defrauding at least 35 subcontractors. Chester Neal received his sentence yesterday after pleading guilty in August. Neal admitted to not paying subcontractors for contracts with the Air Force, Interior and Army. Instead he used the money at casinos, nightclubs and hotels. (Department of Justice)
  • A Maryland man who operates nine different companies that provide food service in many government buildings in D.C. is facing charges of payroll tax fraud. The Justice Department says Steve Choi, failed to pay employment taxes for all of his companies. DOJ says he also failed to pay more than $6.2 million in sales taxes. (Department of Justice)