Veterans life insurance

Members of Congress Pressure AG Garland to Comply with FOIA Laws

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  • A bill aimed at the participation of small businesses in the federal market is now law. the Profitability Rigorous and Innovative Promotion Act (PRICE), requires the Office of Management and Budget to train federal procurement staff on ways to make small business a central part of their contracting decisions. Sens Gary Peters (D-Mich.) and Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) introduced the bill. The Small Business Administration reports that the government awarded a record $145 billion in contracts to small businesses last year, but the number of companies receiving prime contracts is down.
  • The Postal Service is finalizing plans for a fleet of mostly gas-powered vehicles, over objections from the Biden administration. USPS plans to purchase more than 148,000 gasoline-powered delivery vehicles over the next decade under its Next Generation Vehicle Delivery contract. This represents approximately 90% of its new fleet. The USPS said at least 10% of its next-generation fleet will be electric vehicles, and the first 5,000 electric vehicles will be ready in 2023. The USPS plans to purchase more electric vehicles if funding becomes available . The White House Council on Environmental Quality and the Environmental Protection Agency said the plan goes against the Biden administration’s vision of a net-zero federal government. . (Federal News Network)
  • the White House completes its major supply chain review, with new implications for federal agencies. The Office of Management and Budget is preparing to release new Buy American rules that define a category of critical products eligible for enhanced price preferences. The rules will also finalize an increase in the domestic content threshold that agencies must meet when purchasing US products. The actions come as the Biden administration concludes a year-long review of US supply chains. Officials believe the new rules will help US manufacturers win government contracts and expand their businesses.
  • Vacancies in senior executive positions could soon reach a point where they disrupt the Biden administration’s agenda. The Partnership for Public Service said 70 top government positions had no confirmed candidate, including the departments of Health and Human Services, Treasury and Transport. The White House blames Republicans for deadlock in a sharply divided Senate, but it has also failed to submit nominations for many of the vacancies. (Federal News Network)
  • The upgrade of the financial management system of the Office of Personnel Management is experiencing difficulties. Another project to move an agency’s financial management system to a shared services provider is behind schedule and potentially over budget. OPM partners with Treasury ARC to upgrade federal trust fund financial system, which manages $1 trillion in combined assets in government pension, health benefits and insurance programs -life. The Government Accountability Office said the program was a year behind schedule and could cost $13 million more than expected. Auditors said the reasons for the difficulties are multiple, including a lack of funding and problems integrating systems with the Treasury’s shared services platform. (Federal News Network)
  • Lawmakers are pressing Attorney General Merrick Garland to hold agencies accountable for compliance with open case laws. A bipartisan group from both houses of Congress said Garland must send a clear message about compliance with the Freedom of Information Act. They cite recent audits that show agencies are refusing more FOIA requests, while the backlog of requests continues to grow. Lawmakers are urging Garland and the Justice Department to release new guidelines that emphasize openness and transparency.
  • NASA is finally ready to go out with its $1.8 billion contract for IT services, including communications, cloud, data center and cybersecurity support. the Office of Government Accountability confirmed the NASA award to Leidos for the Advanced Enterprise Global Information Solutions or AEGIS contract. SAIC had protested the award to the GAO, saying Leidos had gained an unfair competitive advantage by hiring a former NASA official as a consultant to prepare the proposals. The GAO said Leidos did not gain an unfair advantage from the retired NASA official and had no reason to conclude that the evaluation of the proposals was unreasonable.
  • The Army said its digital transformation plans work best when commanders have easy access to data and data analytics. The department’s data manager found that innovation thrived in areas where decision makers could get the specific information they needed. The military is currently implementing a strategy to modernize its IT institutions. (Federal News Network)
  • The head of the army’s public affairs office resigns. Brig. Gen. Amy Johnston is retiring after an Army Inspector General investigation, the service told Federal News Network. Johnston headed the army’s public affairs department. She was criticized after 97% of respondents to a survey of her command’s work climate found it to be a hostile environment. Sexual harassment and racial discrimination were also reported. Johnston was suspended in September after the results of the investigation. She took office in April 2019.
  • The Senate unanimously passed a bill that would expand health care eligibility for veterans exposed to toxic substances. Senator John Tester (D-Mont.) presented the Burn Veterans Health Care Act, which would extend the period of health care coverage from five years to ten years after veterans discharge after 9/11. The legislation would also improve toxic exposure training for Department of Veterans Affairs employees and require VA to implement toxic exposure screenings for veterans. The bill is now returned to the House.