The Federal Aviation Administration will keep open 149 contract towers that were originally slated for closure in June due to money from Congress that helped end employee furloughs, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said in a statement May 10. The Reducing Flight Delays Act allowed the FAA to transfer money stop furloughs of air traffic controllers and some of that money will also be used keep the contract towers open through fiscal 2013, LaHood said.
The Nevada House delegation introduced a bill May 8 that would ban federal agencies from discouraging the selection of a resort or vacation destination as the location for a federal conference."After the GSA issue was exposed, the city of Las Vegas was unfairly targeted as somehow being the cause of the wasteful spending," said Rep. Joe Heck (R-Nev.).
Sequestration cuts hampered the Office of Personnel Management's ability to reduce the backlog of federal retirement claims, OPM Associate Director for Retirement Services Ken Zawodny told the House Oversight Committee May 9. Because of the cuts, OPM banned overtime for employees processing federal retirement claims.
The Internal Revenue Service fiscal 2014 budget request saved $214 million through program cuts including hiring restrictions, closing offices and reducing IT, a May 3 GAO report (.pdf) says. If the budget request is enacted, IRS would save $78 million in hiring restrictions. The agency plans to not replace staff that have retired, the report says.
The House Armed Services Committee voted six bills related to veteran affairs out of committee May 8, including one that would suspend Veteran's Administration executive bonuses for five years. The ban on bonuses came in the form of an amendment from Rep. Jeff Miller (R-Fla.) to the GI Bill Tuition Fairness Act of 2013 (H.R. 357) that would put a five year moratorium on performance bonuses for VA senior executives.
The Social Security Administration needs to work with other state and federal agencies and share data to make sure social security payments are made properly, Office of Federal Financial Management Controller Daniel Werfel told the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee May 8. There are data connections, Werfel said, such as if a worker is getting direct deposit from an employer it means that person is alive, but if a person hasn't used their Medicare in three years, it's likely they're dead.
Budget cuts due to sequestration caused a lack of readiness in the military that will interfere with the Defense Department providing replacement unites in Afghanistan next year, Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton Carter told an audience at the National Press Club May 7.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is responsible for inspecting federal firearms licensees, which include dealers, manufacturers and importers. The ATF's goal is to inspect all licensees on 3- or 5-year cycles, but auditors found that 58 percent of licensees--73,204 of them--had not been inspected within 5 years.
Despite reports saying the State Department will not furlough employees due to sequestration cuts, a State Department spokesperson said no decision has been made on whether to furlough employees.
The Veterans Administration must move to a build model that allows the architect and the construction contractor to work together simultaneously to quell cost and time overruns, VFW Director of Legislative Service Raymond Kelley told the House Veterans Affairs Committee in a May 7 hearing. The VA currently operates 43 projects under the design-bid-build model where the construction contractor bids to a fixed price and then is responsible for cost overruns unless they put through a change order where the VA and the contractor negotiate for who pays the overage, Kelley said.
Scientists at the Energy Department's national security laboratories miss out on valuable conferences because the labs restrict their attendance too much, said Charles Shank, a former director of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, at a Senate hearing May 7.
The rate of sexual assault in the military jumped in 2012 from 2010, a Defense Department anonymous survey of 108,000 active-duty service members says (.pdf). The survey estimates 26,000 service members were sexually assaulted in 2012, significantly more than the estimated 19,300 in 2010.
Set-aside contracts for women-owned small businesses no longer have a maximum value, under an interim final rule published May 7 by the Small Business Administration. Previously, a contract could not exceed $4 million to be eligible for the Women-Owned Small Business Program, unless it was a manufacturing contract, in which case it could not exceed $6.5 million.
The Defense department did not account for a Budget Control Act-required $52 billion cut in the fiscal 2014 budget request, leading two senators to question those cuts will come from.
President Obama's judicial nominees who were confirmed during his first term endured a longer confirmation process on average than the nominees of the four previous presidents, an analysis from the Congressional Research Service shows.
An out-of-channels tribal recognition process at the Bureau of Indian Affairs excluded ten claimants to Tejon Indian identity from potentially receiving federal recognition, says an April 30 Interior Department Inspector General report (.pdf).
For the first time since December 2012, the Office of Personnel Management received in April fewer claims for retirement than projected, show OPM retirement statistics (.pdf). OPM received 7,059 claims; it had projected 8,000 new claims.
The Federal Aviation Administration has decided to keep its contract weather observers at 140 airports nationwide through the current fiscal year, which ends Sept. 30.
President Obama nominated his last four open cabinet positions including the most recent, Penny Pritzker for Commerce Department secretary. All four nominations still need to be confirmed by the Senate.
Costs substantially increased and schedules were delayed for Veterans Affairs medical center construction projects in Denver, Las Vegas, New Orleans and Orlando, a recently release April 4 Government Accountability Office report says. As of November 2012, the cost increases for the four projects ranged from 59 percent to 144 percent, with a total cost increase of nearly $1.5 billion and an average increase of around $366 million, the report says.