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Federal Employees News Digest : Dec. 10, 2012
December 10, 2012 Vol. 62, No. 22 6 Visit us on the Internet at www.FederalDaily.com nothing new and provides no details on which deductions they would eliminate, which loopholes they will close or which Medicare savings they would achieve." Pfeiffer said the president believes that "compromise is readily available to Congress," but that Obama is "not willing to compro- mise on the principles of fairness and bal- ance that include asking the wealthiest to pay higher rates." "Until the Republicans in Congress are willing to get serious about asking the wealthiest to pay slightly higher tax rates, we won't be able to achieve a significant, balanced approach to reduce our deficit our nation needs," he concluded. labor reaction At least one federal employee union weighed in on the Boehner letter, as well. National Treasury Employees Union President Colleen Kelley issued a state- ment calling the House leadership's pro- posal "unacceptable." "The proposal is based on the Simpson- Bowles plan that would have extended the current federal employee pay freeze, increased pension contributions and cut the federal workforce by 10 percent," she said. "It also would turn the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program into a voucher system." "It is well past time for the House leader- ship to put forward a plan based on shared sacrifice, and not to call on federal employ- ees for even greater contributions," she said. See the letter at: http://boehner. house.gov/news/documentsingle. aspx?DocumentID=314134, and the White House response at: http://www.whitehouse. gov/the-press-office/2012/12/03/statement- white-house-communications-director-dan- pfeiffer. ••• In Brief GSA wants to relocate FbI headquarters The General Services Administration last week issued a request for information (RFI) soliciting feedback from the real estate indus- try and other interested parties on exchanging the current FBI headquarters for a new, con- solidated headquarters. GSA said it is considering the entire national capital region---including the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia---as possible sites for the new head- quarters. GSA wants to move the headquarters out of the outdated, 2.4 million-square-foot J. Edgar Hoover Building on Pennsylvania Ave., and construct a new facility that also will house operations that have overflowed the current headquarters into other locations. GSA issued two such RFIs last week. In the other, GSA is asking interested par- ties for input on redeveloping a large col- lection of federal buildings in southwest Washington, known as Federal Triangle South. The agency said it is "aligning its vision for Federal Triangle South with the National Capital Planning Commission's Southwest EcoDistrict---a sustainable community stretching from the National Mall to the Southwest Waterfront." That project would include a number of buildings and, according to GSA, would cut costs by "overhauling these outdated and underutilized assets, developing state- of-the-art green facilities; and encouraging mixed-use and improved infrastructure." To see more, go to: www.gsa.gov/portal/ content/153151. Senator offers remedy to VA claims backlog One Texas legislator thinks the Department of Veterans Affairs can learn a thing or two from his state that may help address VA's claims backlog. Republican Sen. John Cornyn on Nov. 28 filed an amendment to the defense authoriza- tion bill that would require the VA to adopt Texas's model for streamlining the claims pro- cess, which calls for ensuring that new claims are fully developed before they are submitted. According to a statement from his office, in the last two years alone the number of backlogged veterans' claims nationwide has more than doubled. "This is a national disgrace, and veterans with pending claims deserve more than just rhetoric from VA headquarters in Washington," Cornyn said. "The massive backlog of VA disability claims reminds us that far too many veterans are being underserved." In Cornyn's state, the Texas Veterans Commission partnered with the VA to assist with claims to ensure completion and accuracy to shorten the processing time; during the first two months of the partner- ship, more than 2,500 backlogged claims were processed and more than 800 fully developed claims were completed. Cornyn's amendment would require VA to adopt a similar partnership with outside entities. In testimony before a House Veterans' Affairs Subcommittee, VA officials reported that the department has experienced positive outcomes through their cooperation with the TVC, according to the release. VA, which has attracted criticism for its claims backlog, already cultivates partner- ships with veterans service organizations to help vets put together these "fully developed claims"---claims that contain all the available supporting evidence vets need to launch a claim that will make it through processing faster. As part of that effort, VA hosted a workshop in July for 10 VSOs with the aim of ramping up the groups' role in helping VA eliminate that claims backlog. oPm issues new closure procedures for capital region The Office of Personnel Management last month outlined updated dismissal and closure procedures for federal offices in the Washington, D.C., area. OPM noted the addition of a new "stay off the roads" advisory to the list of dismissal options. The option instructs employees to stay off the roads until a certain time because of unsafe conditions. OPM said the option was "informally implemented" last winter. "The concern in deciding the operating status of federal offices in Washington, D.C., is to ensure the safety and well-being of the fed- eral workforce community during emergent events and continuity of operations while con- tinuing critical services the American people depend on," OPM Director John Berry said in a statement. "As we saw last winter, it can be important to advise employees as early as possible to stay off the roads until it is expected to be safe." Among other changes, OPM also revised its status message of "Federal Offices are Closed to the Public" to continued on page 9 continued from page 5
Dec. 3, 2012
Dec. 17, 2012