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 federal district court refused to block the Biden administration’s vaccine mandate for federal employees. A group of about 20 federal employees sued the administration in the District of Columbia. They asked for emergency injunctive relief from the mandate. But a federal district judge declined to provide that relief. The employees who sued all have religious or medical requests pending. Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly said the employees won’t face discipline while those requests are pending. She also said the plaintiffs failed to demonstrate how their potential discipline outweighs harm their agencies and the public might experience. (Federal News Network)
The largest federal employee union wants the White House to push back the vaccine deadline for government workers. The American Federation of Government Employees said the federal workforce should have until January 4 to be fully vaccinated. That’s the same deadline that federal contractors got last week to comply with their own vaccine mandate. The Biden administration said federal employees must be vaccinated by November 22. AFGE said the two deadlines create a double standard for federal employees. Union National President Everett Kelley said employees are demoralized and confused by the separate deadlines. (Federal News Network)
Vendors on any GSA multiple award contract and agency contracting officers have a new dashboard to track the modification of contracts with new clauses to address COVID safety protocols. The General Services Administration created this new data visualization to make it easier for contracting officers to check the status of vendors. The dashboard will list the vendor modification as “Accepted,” “Closed/Cancelled” or “Pending.” Users can filter their search by contractor name, business size, contract vehicle and DUNS number. Vendors have until November 14 to sign their modification.
More than half the members of the Air Force and Space Force who responded to a new survey say they suffered some type of interpersonal violence over the past two years. Air Force officials say those results might not be representative of the total force, since victims may have been more likely to respond to than non-victims, but the rate is too high in any case. The survey had 68,000 participants; that’s about 10% of the Air Force’s military and civilian population. (Federal News Network)
After a listening tour, civilian and Defense acquisition leaders are putting together a new recruitment strategy. With only 7% of the federal workforce under the age of 30, the Biden administration is rolling out new recruitment initiatives. One comes from the Office of Federal Procurement Policy and DoD. They are modernizing their training and development programs for acquisition professionals. Lesley Field is the acting OFPP administrator and spoke at the Imagine Nation ELC conference yesterday in Hershey, Pennsylvania. “[We] are in the process of developing a plan to focus on recruitment, competency, organization and networking. All of these pieces are important to make sure our workforce is strong, capable, agile and resilient.”
The Pentagon is charging up a plan to electrify some of its vehicles. Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks said the Defense Department owns some 170,000 non-tactical vehicles. During a trip to Detroit this week, Hicks said shifting that fleet to electric power will help DoD meet its sustainability goals. She also said DoD is developing potential options for hybrid and electric combat vehicles. In addition to being climate friendly, she said electric-powered tactical vehicles could offer some significant operational advantages for the military.
Lawmakers propose setting up an office at the Pentagon for tracking UFOs. A proposal in the Senate would require top Pentagon officials to establish a permanent office for investigating unidentified aerial vehicles. Sen. Kirstin Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) submitted the legislation as an amendment to the annual defense authorization bill. It would empower the new office to receive all data related to reports of unidentified flying objects from across the defense and intelligence agencies. The office would take over the work currently being done by the Unidentified Aerial Phenomenon Task Force. The Senate is expected to take up debate on the defense bill as soon as next week.
Thirteen former Trump administration officials violated the Hatch Act when they participated in activities during last year’s presidential campaign. The Office of Special Counsel said both former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and former acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf broke the law when they spoke and presided over events at the Republican National Convention. OSC said the Hatch Act doesn’t prohibit a political party from holding a convention at the White House. The agency received a record number of Hatch Act complaints from last year’s RNC events. OSC said former President Trump didn’t break the Hatch Act. Both the president and vice president are exempt from the law. (Federal News Network)
IRS efforts to retire a 60-year old tax processing system will take nearly a decade to complete. Officials tell the Government Accountability Office the IRS met most of its IT modernization goals for 2019 and 2020. But a new system meant to improve taxpayer services, the Customer Account Data Engine Two, is running over budget and behind schedule. GAO said the IRS needs to get this system online before it can retire the Individual Master File used to process individual taxpayer data.
Ahead of this week’s holiday, the Postal Service gives thanks to employees who are military veterans. USPS is one of the largest civilian employers of veterans and those serving in the military reserves. More than 100,000 USPS employees are veterans, nearly one-sixth of its total workforce. Postmaster General Louis DeJoy in a video message, gave thanks to veterans in the USPS workforce. “The Postal Service values and respects our military service women and men, especially those continuing their service to our country with the United States Postal Service.”