On GovLoop Insights’ DorobekINSIDER:
The problems associated with Healthcare.gov may be a reflection of a much bigger issue in government today, that of handling large procurements. So what can we learn from the site’s challenges to improve procurement policies in the future? Raj Sharma from the Public Spend Forum shares his insights.
But up front: A must read from Sunday’s edition of the Washington Post
Recent discoveries have shown that when the Affordable Care Act passed in 2010, the White House had a choice. The president could either appoint an outside health reform “czar” to manage the construction and implementation of a new health insurance marketplace or he could place that responsibility in the hands of his internal top health aides. He chose the latter, and today, analysts believe that such insularity in the design and management of the federal health insurance program is one of the root causes for its current problems and failures.
And the story buzzing in the government association world: an exodus from TechAmerica.
A team of four top lobbyists left TechAmerica this week in favor of a rival trade group, the Information Technology Industry Council (ITI). The Huffington Post reports that ITI had to raise $50,000 a piece from several of its members just to be able to afford the cost of bringing on the new lobbyists. The team’s departure from TechAmerica is only one of many recent setbacks for the company, which has lost 75 clients since July.
Other must reads:
The Christian Science Monitor: As approval ratings for Congress and the President continue to drop, a national survey finds that voters see gridlock in Washington as the country’s biggest problem.
The Christian Science Monitor: The exact reason for Paul Ciancia’s targeting of TSA workers last week at LAX remains unclear, but law enforcement officials are beginning to suspect that his motivations are tied to right-wing, anti-government ideologies.
The SEVEN stories that impact your life
Agencies will have to cap their bonuses for SES career employees at five percent of respective aggregate salaries according to newly released 2014 budget guidance from the White House. The Federal Times notes that bonuses for non-SES staff will also have to be limited next year to one percent of aggregate salaries.
USIS, the top government background check contractor, is facing possible suspension or disbarment if fraud allegations against the organization prove to be true. The company is charged with defrauding the government by submitting incomplete or poorly reviewed background investigations to the Office of Personnel Management under the guise of having completed these investigations. The Federal Times reports that a lawsuit has been filed against USIS by Blake Percival, a former USIS employee, and the Justice Department.
Recent reports reveal that the Obama administration knew about the risks associated with the implementation of Obamacare well before October, but chose to ignore them. David Cutler, a valued outside health care consultant of the Obama administration, was among those who warned the White House of the dangers associated with launching the health care program before it was ready. CBS News states that in his warnings, Cutler observed that the administration lacked any personnel with the experience or skills for successfully initiating a complex business start-up such as Obamacare.
Elizabeth McGrath, the Defense Department’s deputy chief management officer (DCMO), will be stepping down from her position. Her exact departure date remains uncertain as well as whether or not McGrath will be retiring. FCW reports that McGrath is the Pentagon’s first DCMO and that in her position, she strived to improve the agency’s financial management systems and business operations. If McGrath retires, she will be concluding a 25 year career with the Defense Department.
The Homeland Security Department is in the process of finalizing a cybersecurity framework that will assist the private sector in securing critical infrastructure. There is contention, however, over whether or not DHS took into account considerations from the private sector when drafting the cybersecurity framework. Federal News Radio reports that industry experts are arguing that DHS failed to take into account input from the private sector, while DHS officials maintain that the initiative has been a collaborative one. The framework, known as the National Infrastructure Protection Plan (NIPP), will be submitted by DHS to the White House on November 8.
The American Federation of Government Employees, a union that represents TSA workers, is arguing that TSA employees, especially those at checkpoints, should be armed and trained as law enforcement officers to prevent incidents such as the shooting that occurred at LAX last week. The Hill reports that David Borer, the union’s general counsel, advocates for arming TSA workers given the amount of verbal and physical abuse that they encounter as a result of their negative public perception.
Recent reports show that this year’s sequestration cuts have reduced overall spending in the intelligence community by $4 billion. Since 2010, intelligence spending has dropped by 16 percent from its overall high of $80.1 billion. The Federal Times observes that senior officials in the intelligence community have not revealed the impact of these cuts on operations for national security reasons, but are expecting further reductions in 2014.
DorobekINSIDER water-cooler fodder
Amazon CEO’s Wife Leaves a Scathing 1-Star Review for Book About Her Husband: Amidst all the praise for Brad Stone’s book on Amazon and its CEO, Jeff Bezos, there is but one bad review, delivered by the CEO’s wife, MacKenzie Bezos.