News

GAO: DOJ closed 70% of whistleblower cases within a year

The Justice Department closed about 70 percent of its whistleblower retaliation complaints within a year, but it took years to close the rest, according to Government Accountability Office testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee. The DOJ closed 44 of 62 Federal Bureau of Investigations whistleblower retaliation cases within a year.

GAO: Government addressed 30% of GAO recs over the last 4 years

Congress and the agencies addressed about 30 percent of the problems the Government Accountability Office identified over the last four years, says a March 4 GAO report. Since its 2011 annual report, GAO identified about 440 actions that needed to be taken across 180 areas. The issues span the range of government services and programs, from the Medicare and Medicaid programs to transportation programs to weapon systems acquisitions, the report says.

DoD calls on Congress for another round of BRAC

Pentagon officials once again pushed Congress for another round of base realignment and closures, promising that the plan would save the Defense Department big money.

Report: Government spent less on contracts in 2014 than it did the previous year

Federal spending on government contracts decreased in 2014, with the Defense Department seeing the biggest overall decline, according to a March 3 report from Govini, a business consulting company for government contractors. Govini, each year, releases a federal scorecard that tallies and analyzes data on federal contract spending and agency performance.

GAO: Research that may help health providers decide on better treatments not very accessible

This research essentially assesses and analyzes the health outcomes and effectiveness, including benefits and risks, of two or more medical treatments, services or even health care interventions such as drugs, medical devices, tests and surgeries.

GSA proposes overhaul to Multiple Award Schedules

Under a proposed General Services Administration rule, the multiple awards schedule would get an overhaul to address recommendations by the 2010 Multiple Award Schedule Advisory Panel.

CBO: Government will again hit debt limit in October or November

The debt limit is looming again and lawmakers will need to strike a deal by October or November to avoid the government defaulting on its debt, says a March 3 Congressional Budget Office report. CBO estimates that the government will default on its obligations in either October or November if Congress fails to pass legislation that would raise the debt ceiling.

Bill would give personnel appeal rights to USPS mid-level managers

A new Senate bill would give mid-level Postal Service managers the right to appeal adverse personnel decisions through the Merit Systems Protection Board. 

Former Bush economist takes on role as head of CBO

Keith Hall, a former economist with the Treasury Department during the George W. Bush administration, will head up the Congressional Budget Office after Douglas Elmendorf steps down April 1, says a statement from the House Budget Committee.

DoD doesn't know cost or performance of non-major acquisition programs, GAO says

The Defense Department doesn't have the information to determine the cost or performance of its non-major acquisition programs, says a March 2 Government Accountability Office report. These non-major programs, called category II and III programs, range from a multibillion dollar aircraft radar modernization program to soldier clothing and protective equipment programs in the tens of millions of dollars, the report says.

Bill would roll back DoD per diem cuts

Two house lawmakers have introduced a bill that would undo cuts the Defense Department made to travel per diems last year, says a Mar. 2 statement from Rep. Derek Kilmer (D-Wash.). Kilmer and Rep. Walter Jones (R-N.C.) seek through the bill to roll back a DoD policy implemented last November that reduced the reimbursement rates by 25 percent for trips or temporary duty up to 180 days. It also reduced the meal and lodging per diem by 45 percent of what it used to be, the statement says.

Cruz and Donnelly announce bill to help Reservists get federal employment

Two Senators introduced bipartisan legislation Feb. 26 that would give members of the National Guard and Reserve a tiered preference in hiring for federal civil service jobs. Senators Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.) and Ted Cruz (R-Texas) introduced the Military Reserve Jobs Act of 2015, the text of which has not been released, but is similar to a measure introduced by the pair in 2013.

GAO: Indian Affairs doesn't know the state of its schools across the country

The Bureau of Indian Education doesn't know the state of its schools across the country due to inaccurate or incomplete data collected by the Bureau of Indian Affairs, says a Feb. 27 Government Accountability Office report. GAO's investigation shows that issues with the quality of data on school conditions – such as inconsistent data entry by schools and inadequate quality controls – make determining the number of schools in poor condition difficult.

Former NARA official comes out in support of new FOIA reform bill

A former National Archives and Records Administration official spoke out in support of a new bill that would strengthen Freedom of Information Act protections.

Official: IRS needs more money, but must also prove to Congress that the agency deserves it

An Internal Revenue Service official called on Congress to help the agency turn around its inability to provide adequate customer service due to budget cuts. But the IRS must also prove to Congress that it can properly manage the agency.

IG: Arkansas VA office changed disability claim processing dates, but were within VA guidance

Employees at a Veterans Affairs Department regional office in Arkansas changed the dates on disability claims to make it appear that the office wasn't falling behind in processing them, says a Feb. 26 VA inspector general report. The report says that staff at the Little Rock regional office claim they were following guidance handed down from the Veterans Benefits Administration.

GAO: DOE's ability to manage contaminated sites hindered by lack of data

The Energy Department's ability to manage contaminated facilities that need to be disposed of is hindered by limited data on those facilities, says a Feb. 25 Government Accountability Office report.

IRS Commish: Tax return audits at their lowest level in a decade due to budget cuts

Tax return audits fell to their lowest level in the last ten years because the Internal Revenue Service budget cuts have forced the agency to reduce its number of auditors, IRS Commissioner John Koskinen told the New York State Bar Association at a Feb. 24 event. "The math is pretty simple," Koskinen said in the speech, of which the IRS provided a transcript. "There are fewer audits because we have fewer auditors."

PSC comes out against contractor workplace executive order

The Professional Services Council came out against a 2014 executive order that PSC President Stan Soloway says would punish law-abiding federal contractors. Under the executive order, which President Obama signed July 31, 2014, contractors have to report any labor law violations to federal agencies.

Special Report: Reinventing the Postal Service

It's safe to say the Postal Service is in financial shambles after losing $5.5 billion in fiscal 2014 and already coming out of the first quarter of fiscal 2015 with a $750 million loss. FierceGovernment explores the root causes of USPS's financial woes, as well as some of the proposed solutions and business models gaining interest and support. Read the report