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.
Senators from Maryland and Virginia pressed President Joe Biden to come up with a plan for a new FBI headquarters. The senators said the 45-year old J. Edgar Hoover building in downtown Washington, D.C. raises serious security concerns, and is falling into disrepair. The Trump administration walked away from plans to relocate the FBI headquarters to suburban Maryland or Virginia, and favored a demolish-and-rebuild plan on its current site. The senators said having a clear direction for the building project will help the FBI better meet its law enforcement mission.
The Postal Service is moving ahead with a non-voluntary reduction in force of non-bargaining unit employees. It’s part of an agency restructuring that’s been in place since Postmaster General Louis DeJoy took office. Employees affected by the RIF will receive a notice by May 21 outlining their prospects for reassignment elsewhere in the agency. USPS is lifting a hiring freeze of management jobs that’s been in place since last summer. The agency is also sending out a second voluntary early retirement offer to eligible employees ahead of the RIF. (Federal News Network)
The largest federal employee union said staffing shortages are stretching multiple agencies thin. Local leaders at the American Federation of Government Employees are raising concerns about staffing issues they say have persisted before the pandemic and across multiple administrations. They’re especially concerned about staffing shortages at the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Transportation Security Administration, the Bureau of Prisons, and FEMA. One local BOP union leader said correctional officers are working 2,000 instances of overtime each month to compensate for staffing shortages. (Federal News Network)
Five former IRS commissioners support the Biden’s administration’s plan to reinvest in the agency’s enforcement operations. They wrote in a Washington Post op-ed that the IRS could collect as much as $1.4 trillion in taxes owed over the next decade. That’s if Congress increases the agency’s budget by $80 billion over the same period of time. The commissioners said budget and workforce cuts since 2010 have hurt the agency’s ability to answer taxpayers calls and conduct audits.
The House Veterans Affairs Committee cleared legislation that would expand collective bargaining rights for VA health care professionals. Committee Chairman Mark Takano (D-Calif.) is the lead author of the VA Employee Fairness Act. The committee sent over two dozen bills to the House floor yesterday. Another bill would require VA to regularly report on how it’s spending COVID-19 relief funds. And another requires VA to create a plan for addressing its backlog of Freedom of Information Act requests.
The much anticipated solicitation for the FirstSource III multiple award contract has hit the street. The Department of Homeland Security’s 100% small business set-aside contract is for IT value added resellers and software product providers. FirstSource III is a 10-year contract with a $10 billion ceiling. DHS is using a two-phase evaluation process starting with initial bids being due May 12. DHS expects to make final awards by September.
Agencies have less than a month to get their proposals to the front of the line for extra IT modernization funding. The Office of Management and Budget sets a deadline of June 2 for agencies to receive expedited consideration if they want some of the $1 billion now available under the Technology Modernization Fund. OMB released new guidance to agencies yesterday for how the TMF board will loan out the windfall funding Congress approved in the American Rescue Plan. In the guidance, OMB offered more flexibilities for the payback model and highlighted four areas they would like to see proposals focus on, including cybersecurity and public facing services. This will not be agencies’ only opportunity, as the TMF Board will accept proposals on a rolling basis going forward. (Federal News Network)
The Marine Corps has suspended its inspector general from his duties. The decision isn’t related to Robert Castellvi’s performance in his current IG role – it has to do with his prior job as the commander of the 1st Marine Division. The two-star general is the highest-ranking officer implicated in a training accident last year that killed nine Marines off the southern California coast. Investigations so far have blamed maintenance, inadequate training, and poor judgment by commanders. (Federal News Network)
The Space Force is already a reality, but now the Defense Department has its eyes set on a Space National Guard. The chief of the National Guard Bureau said building a Space Guard is one of his top priorities, and that the Defense Department will soon submit recommendation plans to Congress for its creation. The Space Guard would be completely separate from the active duty and reserve components of the Space Force. In the past, officials said they wanted the Space Guard to only be in the seven states and one territory where the Guard already conducts space operations. Congress would need to pass legislation in order to create the new component. (Federal News Network)
The Air Force is forming two barrier analysis working groups aimed at furthering inclusion and diversity within its ranks. One group will focus on gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender issues. The other will spend its time on indigenous nations’ matters. The two teams will join a handful of other groups the Air Force created to build its diversity. Those include groups that focus on women’s issues, Black service members, people with disabilities, and Hispanic and Asian airmen.