To listen to the Federal Newscast on your phone or mobile device, subscribe in PodcastOne or Apple Podcasts. The best listening experience on desktop can be found using Chrome, Firefox or Safari.
A California federal court has blocked key portions of President Donald Trump’s executive order that sought to ban certain types of training on diversity and inclusion. As part of a lawsuit brought by civil rights groups, the U.S. District Court of Northern District of California, San Jose Division, issued a nationwide injunction blocking the administration from enforcing the training ban on government contractors and grantees. The ruling also bars the administration from running a Labor Department hotline it set up to take reports of what the executive order calls “divisive” training. The injunction does not apply to federal agencies themselves, which have all but ceased their diversity and inclusion training in response to Trump’s order.
The House voted last night to override Trump’s veto of this year’s National Defense Authorization Act. Republicans and Democrats affirmed the bill’s passage by a supermajority vote of 322-87. The Senate also needs to re-approve the bill by a two-thirds margin before it can become law over the president’s objections. That chamber passed the bill in an 84-13 vote earlier this month before the president vetoed it. (Federal News Network)
President-elect Joe Biden said the Pentagon is withholding briefings and information from his transition team. Biden said yesterday that both the Defense Department and the Office of Management and Budget are obstructing the transition process for his DoD agency review team. Acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller denied the claim, contending that DoD has provided more material than the Biden team requested and that briefings are set to restart after the New Year. (Federal News Network)
The Defense Department now has a way to keep an eye on at-risk COVID-19 patients as they recover. The Military Health Service is offering a coronavirus remote monitoring program for patients who are sent home from the hospital, but still may develop complications. The kit virtually monitors temperature, oxygen level, heart rate and blood pressure to ensure patients are recovering properly. The pilot started in Joint Base San Antonio but now spans military installations from California to Maryland. A team of teleworking nurses watch the patients for any warning signs and alert medical staff of any issues.
The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency launched its first accelerator to connect to commercial companies and harness innovation. The NGA will select up to eight companies for the 13-week program, which includes $100,000 in funding, plus mentorship and direct engagement with the NGA. The agency is looking for companies that can provide products involving a host of technologies, including predictive intelligence and data management.
A White House memo cuts performance data requirements from agencies’ budget requests. The Office of Management and Budget memo removed an earlier section of guidance that gave agencies a common framework to evaluate the performance of programs under the Government Performance and Results Act. OMB said the legislation led to agencies creating thousands of pages of performance data that got little attention from Congress. Agencies use this performance data to justify their annual budget requests. The Biden administration expects to issue its first budget request in January.
Postal Service employees are one step closer to getting the COVID-19 vaccine. A CDC advisory panel recommended USPS and other front-line employees get vaccinated under the next wave of distribution. The first wave has prioritized health care workers and residents of long-term care facilities. The panel’s recommendations are not binding, but have been sent to CDC Director Robert Redfield for his consideration.