Biden admin. hopes to make government services more inclusive for transgender people

In today's Federal Newscast, the White House wants to boost inclusion for transgender people in federal services.

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  • The White House wants to boost inclusion for transgender people in federal services. The fiscal 2023 budget request includes $10 million to improve transgender visibility in the Census Bureau. The White House also wants to expand data on gender at the Department of Health and Human Services. Along with that, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission will add more gender identification options for those filing discrimination charges. The administration’s new plans to support transgender Americans center on improving customer experience, a key priority in the President’s Management Agenda.
  • President Joe Biden’s Postal Service nominees envision sweeping reforms at the agency. The former head of the General Services Administration Dan Tangherlini, and Derek Kan, a former deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget, told the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee they will take a closer look at Congress’ top priorities for the agency. That includes its next-generation delivery vehicle fleet and how many electric vehicles USPS plans to buy. Tangherlini said USPS needs to ensure it has the resources to spend on charging infrastructure in order to make electric vehicles a major part of its new fleet. (Federal News Network)
  • Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) will introduce legislation to tackle the rising number of improper payments in government. Agencies estimate that the improper payment rate across government was 7.2% for fiscal 2021, equaling $281 billion. That’s the highest amount in close to 20 years. Connolly’s bill would create an oversight office to help agencies struggling with improper payments and make corrections. Connolly said using high-quality data and modern IT infrastructure are key to ensuring that government dollars go to the right place.
  • The leadership of the House Modernization Committee introduced a bill that would make agencies take recommendations from the Government Accountability Office more seriously. The Improving Government for America’s Taxpayers Act from Rep. Derek Kilmer (D-Wash.) and William Timmons (R-S.C.) would require the Government Accountability Office to consolidate its most urgent but unmet recommendations into one report for congressional leaders. In this report, GAO would include how long its priority recommendations have gone unfulfilled, and the estimated costs savings agencies would achieve by implementing these recommendations. The bill’s co-sponsors include the leadership of the House Oversight and Reform Committee.
  • A bill requiring more energy-efficient lighting in federal buildings passed the Senate. The BRIGHT Act required the General Services Administration to install the most cost-effective and energy-efficient lights at federal buildings as part of routine maintenance. GSA estimated switching agencies to LED lightbulbs would result in millions of dollars in cost-savings. Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Gary Peters (D-Mich.) and investigations subcommittee ranking member Ron Johnson (R-Wisc.) introduced the bill. The bill now heads to the House for consideration.
  • GSA is moving some senior leaders into new positions. It’s shuffling their senior executives who lead offices in the Federal Acquisition Service. In a memo obtained by Federal News Network, FAS Commissioner Sonny Hashmi outlined five personnel moves as part of his approach to improving customer experience. Hashmi transferred Erv Koehler from customer and stakeholder engagement to lead the office of general supplies and services. Charlotte Phelan will take over from Crystal Philcox to lead the Office of Enterprise Strategy Management, and Bob Noonan will be the senior adviser for workplace programs. (Federal News Network)
  • A former deputy Defense secretary is set to take over leadership of one of the biggest government trade associations. The National Defense Industrial Association said it hired David Norquist as it next president and CEO. He will replace Herbert “Hawk” Carlisle, a retired Air Force general who’s led NDAA since 2017. Norquist served as DoD’s comptroller before taking on the deputy secretary job, and served briefly as the acting Defense secretary during the transition to the Biden administration.
  • The Air Force said it will be a long time before its pilot shortage problem is fixed. The Air Force said it could be 20 years or more before it feels like it has its pilot shortage issue under control. The service is currently down about 1,600 pilots, most of them fighter pilots. That’s an improvement from last year when it was down 1,900. Part of the issue is that the Air Force can’t train enough pilots to meet the current need. The service hopes to have the capability to train 1,500 pilots annually within the next couple years. Officials said that will put the Air Force on a more sustainable path. (Federal News Network)
  • The Defense Logistics Agency is now the Defense Department’s main printing services provider. All DoD components, except for a few exceptions, must now purchase services through the DLA. The Pentagon said the move may save tens of millions of dollars a year. The DLA will print everything from brochures to gun range targets.
  • The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency is looking for some help managing government websites. CISA is conducting market research on Domain Name System services for dot-gov. The agency plans to release a solicitation in late spring or early summer. The DOTGOV Act of 2020 put CISA in charge of the dot-gov space. It currently includes 7,300 domains, and CISA anticipates dot-gov use will grow 20% annually over the next few years.
  • Congress looks to make a dent in a massive backlog of veterans records requests. The Access for Veterans Records Act would authorize $60 million for the National Archives and Records Administration to address the logjam at the National Personnel Records Center. The legislation was introduced this week by members of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform. The backlog at the records center currently stands at about 600,000 requests. The delays can make it harder for veterans to access essential services like health care and housing. The new bill is aimed at helping NARA improve response times and digitize paper records.
  • A former employee of the National Security Agency is facing charges of allegedly downloading and emailing classified and top secret data to his personal email address and to another individual. The Justice Department said Mark Unkenholz of Hanover, Maryland, sent classified information to a person who was not authorized to handle such documents on 13 occasions between February 2018 and June 2020. If convicted, Unkenholz faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in jail for each of the 13 counts of willful transmission of classified data and a maximum of 10 years in jail for each of the 13 counts of willful retention of classified data.

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