GOP chairmen selected on House Ways & Means and Homeland Security Committees

In today's Federal Newscast, federal employees teleworking overseas get a pay bump, 2023 Presidential Rank Awards nominations open and more.

  • Hundreds of federal employees teleworking overseas are about to see their paychecks go up. Domestic employees teleworking overseas (DETOs) are getting a locality-pay equivalent as part of the recently passed National Defense Authorization Act. Most DETOs are the spouses of military service members or Foreign Service officers living abroad. The bill gives DETOs the lower of two options, what they would have been paid in the U.S. or what a member of the Foreign Service at an equivalent level is paid. Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-Texas) and Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) introduced standalone legislation to address this pay disparity before lawmakers included it in the final NDAA. (Hundreds of federal employees teleworking overseas set to receive pay bump under NDAA – Federal News Network)
  • House Republicans are bringing back the Holman Rule after a two-year hiatus. Lawmakers adopted the Republican rules package last night that includes the ability for members to offer amendments to appropriations legislation that would reduce-the-salary-of or fire specific federal employees, or cut a specific program. In addition to the Holman Rule, the House rules package includes the ability to create a new select subcommittee under the Judiciary Committee to look into the weaponization of the government. (Having elected House speaker, Republicans try governing – Federal News Network)
  • The IRS and the Social Security Administration have a new overseer in the House. The House Republican steering committee has selected Rep. Jason Smith (R-Mo.) to lead the Ways and Means Committee. Smith said his priorities include rolling back $80 billion dollars of funding for the IRS and cracking down on agency leaks of sensitive taxpayer data. Smith previously was ranking member of the Ways and Means Committee and now becomes the youngest chairman ever of the committee.
  • OPM is breathing new life into human resources shared services. Agencies have their first look at new human resources business standards to help improve how they deliver these services. The Office of Personnel Management issued a draft and updated human capital business reference model that outlines business capabilities, service metrics and standard data elements. It also details key activities, inputs, outputs and other functional area intersections. OPM is seeking feedback from agencies and vendors alike, focused on four main questions including whether the standards appropriately document existing business processes, and what is missing or what needs to be changed. Comments on the draft standards are due by Feb. 8.
  • Improper payments could be costing the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program up to a billion dollars a year. Some family members of FEHB participants may be double-enrolled in the health insurance program. The Office of Personnel Management started requiring enrollees to verify family member eligibility for the program in 2021. But that verification did not include a way to remove current ineligible members from the program. That is according to a new report from the Government Accountability Office. The report recommends that OPM create a mechanism to remove those ineligible members, and then further assess the risk of fraud in the program.
  • Agencies want to add a dose of cybersecurity to renewable energy infrastructure. The Energy Department is taking applications for the second cohort of the Clean Energy Cybersecurity Accelerator program. The program helps develop cybersecurity solutions for renewable energy resources and other grid operations. The goal is to bring potential products to the market faster.
  • Homeland Security agencies have a new leader on a key congressional committee. The House Steering Committee on Monday selected Rep. Mark Green (R-Tenn.) to serve as chairman of the Homeland Security Committee. He beat out Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-Texas) for the role. Green is expected to put a heavy focus on border security and immigration issues. The committee also oversees cybersecurity, counterterrorism, emergency preparedness and transportation security. New subcommittee leaders have not yet been announced.
  • Nominations are open for the 2023 Presidential Rank Awards. Each year, several hundred federal employees in the Senior Executive Service are selected for the prize. It is considered the highest honor for career civil servants, and it comes with a significant pay bonus. Last year, President Joe Biden picked 233 winners, across 33 federal agencies. Nominations for the 2023 awards are due Feb. 16, and should be submitted electronically.
  • Small Defense Department agencies may not have the resources to review their own contracting performance histories, but they can get the guidance they need from a procurement management review. The Defense Contracting Management Agency along with Defense Pricing and Contracting and a group of volunteers from other agencies perform the reviews every three years. The team looks at a random sampling of contracts and makes recommendations to improve contract reporting compliance and accuracy. The review team looks at six defense agencies a year out of a group of twenty-one that participates in the program. (The review that helps DoD create better contract management documentation – Federal News Network)
  • After multiple delays, the Army will roll out its new human resources and benefits IT program this month. The Integrated Personnel and Pay System (IPPS) consolidates dozens of redundant pay and benefits systems and gives soldiers mobile access to human resources information. The transition from legacy systems to IPPS involved a brown-out period, where the old system shut-off before the new system kicked in. An update from the Army deputy chief of staff for personnel, said the transition is working, but there are some data discrepancies.
  • The Postal Service said it delivered mail-in ballots in last year’s midterm elections more quickly than it did in 2020. USPS, in its 2022 post-election analysis report, found it delivered over 105 million ballots in 2022. That’s compared to the 135 million ballots USPS delivered during the 2020 election. USPS said it delivered more than 98.9% of mail-in ballots within three days. That’s a more than 1% increase compared to 2020. (USPS delivered mail-in ballots for midterm elections more quickly than in 2020 surge – Federal News Network)

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