On GovLoop Insights' DorobekINSIDER:
Something's gotta give. A new survey finds federal CFOs and their staffs have only enough time, money and know-how to do the basics around financial management. Ouch. So what can they do to ease their burden? Insights from Grant Thorton.
GovLoop’s DorobekINSIDER #GovShutdown Reader - Day 10:
The Washington Post: How the shutdown affects departments
Republican House members meet with President Obama today, as both sides look for a way to get past the government shutdown. No one has publicly backed down from hardened positions. But Republicans say they might go for a short term extension of the federal debt ceiling. That would buy more time for talks on long-term issues, namely the health care law and entitlement reform. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew plans another dire warning about the consequences of not raising the debt ceiling when the Treasury runs out of money later this month. (Associated Press)
Several banks are stepping in to help federal employees facing hardship. GovExec reports, TD Bank will advance furloughed feds $1000, interest-free. It will reimburse late fees on credit cards and even adjust mortgage payments through Nov. 2. The Navy Federal Credit Union offers reduced rates on its overdraft line of credit.
A charity has stepped in to help family members of fallen service members. The Fisher House Foundation will provide the full set of benefits, including $100,000 death payments. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel says he is offended, outraged and embarrassed that the Pentagon cannot do it because of the shutdown. The department will reimburse the Fisher House after the shutdown ends. Meanwhile, a bill is moving through Congress to let the Pentagon resume payments before then.
The Washington Post: GovBeat: States start to feel shutdown pinch--On Capitol Hill, the stalemate over funding the government shows no signs of untangling itself as House Speaker John Boehner, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and President Obama continue to address each other more through the media than anywhere else. But outside the Beltway, the practical fallout from the fact that federal dollars aren’t flowing from Washington to the states is finally sinking in. Within weeks, food stamp programs will run out of money. Programs for low-income women, infants and children will shutter. Phone calls to rape crisis centers will go unanswered. Even licenses for new craft breweries are on hold until the government reopens.
Bloomberg News: Foreclosures Surge in D.C. Area After Federal Budget Cuts
The SEVEN stories that impact your life
The top 20 federal government contracts for the 2014 fiscal year are significantly larger than those of last year, representing an increase of more than $60 billion in expected government contract spending. The Federal Times reports that the call for proposals for these contracts will begin in January 2014, allowing federal agencies to have an opportunity to recover from the current government shutdown.
GSA has announced that companies will have 10-14 days after the government shutdown to submit proposals for the agency’s One Acquisition Solution for Integrated Services (OASIS) contract. The previous deadline for proposals was October 10, but this has changed in light of the government shutdown. The Federal Times states that GSA has modified aspects of the contract to enable small businesses with limited prior experience working with the federal government to vie for the project.
GSA is asking for quotes on the prices of two strategic sourcing contracts for janitorial and maintenance services. GSA officials state that by pursuing strategic sourcing contracts, federal agencies can save $24 million in the first year of the contract and up to $50 million in upcoming years. The Federal Times notes that the deadline for price quotations is November 12 and that there are opportunities for small businesses to participate in the bidding.
Groups representing veterans and current and retired federal employees are protesting the White House and Congress’ attempts to adopt a chained CPI formula for determining the future Cost of Living Adjustments (COLA) for Social Security, veterans, federal employee retirement and other benefits. These groups, as reported by Federal News Radio, are arguing for the preservation of the current system which uses CPI-W to gauge future costs adjustments for veterans and employee benefits. Protestors state that under a chained CPI system, federal retirees could end up losing $48,000 in benefits over a period of 25 years.
The Defense Department has notified industry partners of two new opportunities related to electronic health records. First, the Department’s Health Management Systems Modernization Program is seeking feedback from vendors on the current commercial market capabilities of electronic health records. Second, the Defense Intelligence Agency has been asking for proposals for the multiple-award Enhanced Solutions for the Information Technology Enterprise (E- SITE) contract. Federal News Radio states that each of the above initiatives are DOD’s attempts to update its electronic health records system with a commercial one.
The Navy has relieved Vice Adm. Tim Giardina of his duties as second-in-command at the U.S. Strategic Command responsible for overseeing all U.S. nuclear forces. His removal is in response to allegations that the Vice Admiral had used counterfeit gambling chips at a casino in Iowa. Federal News Radio reports that it’s extremely rare to dismiss such a high ranking official, especially one responsible for U.S. nuclear capabilities.
The ongoing government shutdown could be leaving federal computers at risk to new cyber threats as the reduced number of IT technicians are unable to update necessary security patches on agency desktops and notebooks. Furthermore, Computerworld reports that because nonessential computers and IT systems have been turned off, these networks will not be receiving necessary security updates until after the shutdown ends.
DorobekINSIDER water-cooler fodder
Yahoo Redux: HP Says “All Hands on Deck” Needed, Requiring Most Employees to Work at the Office
Washington Post: Some say health-care site’s problems highlight flawed federal IT policies--Problems with the federal government’s new health-care Web site have attracted legions of armchair analysts who speak of its problems with “virtualization” and “load testing.” Yet increasingly, they are saying the root cause is not simply a matter of flawed computer code but rather the government’s habit of buying outdated, costly and buggy technology. The U.S. government spends more than $80 billion a year for information-technology services, yet the resulting systems typically take years to build and often are cumbersome when they launch. While the error messages, long waits and other problems with www.healthcare.gov have been spotlighted by the high-profile nature of its launch and unexpectedly heavy demands on the system, such glitches are common, say those who argue for a nimbler procurement system.
On GovLoop’s DorobekINSIDER, hear Clay Johnson’s take on some of hte problems with HealthCare.gov.