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Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Office of Inspector General (OIG) Report: Improved Oversight Needed to Evaluate Network Adequacy and Contractor Performance
On April 9, VA’s OIG issued a report detailing an audit to determine whether Veterans Health Administration (VHA) provided effective oversight of its third-party administrators (TPAs) and VA medical facilities. OIG found that Office of Integrated Veteran Care (IVC) did not hold TPAs accountable for implementing these contract requirements, causing staff to struggle to convince TPAs to add community providers to their networks. The OIG recommended the IVC holds future TPAs accountable for operational readiness and provider network adequacy; develop processes to update and maintain Community Care Network (CCN) data, challenges, and needs; conduct Advanced Medical Cost Management Solution training on evaluating network adequacy through the tool for community care staff; and not only develop its own network adequacy performance reports but also evaluate TPAs’ reports, holding them accountable for resolving identified issues. The full report is available here

Bills Introduced in Senate

  • S.4055, Improving Contracting Outcomes Act of 2024: On April 10, the Senate Committee of Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs introduced S.4055 which will establish a pilot program to improve contracting outcomes. More information is available here.
  • S.4036, Government Spending Oversight Act of 2024: On April 10, the Senate Committee of Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs introduced S.4036 which will establish a Government Spending Oversight Committee within the Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency. More information is available here.
  • S.4042, Strengthening Oversight of Federal Records Act of 2024: On April 10, the Senate Committee of Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs introduced S.4042 which will amend title 44 of United States Code to reform the management of Federal records. More information is available here

Small Business Administration (SBA) Press Release: New Small Business Applications Soar to Over 17 Million Under Biden-Harris Administration
On April 11, Administrator Isabel Casillas Guzman, released a statement in response to new data showing that an unprecedented 17 million new business applications have been filed under the Biden-Harris Administration. Read more here.

Maryland Delegation to Launch Bipartisan Push for Funds to Rebuild Collapsed Baltimore Bridge, Government Executive

Maryland’s congressional delegation plans to introduce legislation in the coming days that would require the federal government to cover the costs of rebuilding Baltimore’s Francis Scott Key Bridge, though lawmakers didn’t have a price tag to cite during a Tuesday press conference — or a firm commitment from GOP leaders in the U.S. House to move the bill through that chamber. Read more here.

Citizen Oversight Panels Could Make the Federal Rulemaking Process More Open and Democratic, Government Executive

Juries render decisions on complex legal questions and could do the same as part of the regulatory process. Read more here.

Senate Bill Looks to Chop Through Red Tape in Procurement, Government Executive

The bipartisan legislation aims to both expand access to special acquisition authorities and give new, innovative contractors more opportunities to work with the government. Read more here.

DOI Lowers Fees for Solar, Wind Projects on Public Lands, Law360

The U.S. Department of the Interior unveiled finalized updates to its renewable energy regulations on Thursday that are aimed at promoting the development of solar and wind energy on public lands by lowering the associated fees. Read more here (subscription required). 

Defense Contracts in Japan Soaring as Part of Long-Term Alliance, Bloomberg Government

A planned April 10 meeting between President Joe Biden and Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida follows years of expanded Defense Department contract spending in Japan. DOD contract spending in Japan tripled over last five years. Procurement supports boosts to operations, infrastructure. Read more here (subscription required). 

Upcoming Government Contracts Presentations

PM WEBINAR: PilieroMazza Annual Review: Lessons from 2023 Contract Claims and Appeals Decisions Affect Approach to 2024 Cases, Lauren BrierJonathan “Jon” R. Neri, April 18, 2024. Read more here.

WEBINAR: Small Business Contracting & Subcontracting, Isaias “Cy” Alba, IV, April 19, 2024. Read more here.



Department of Labor (DOL) News Release: DOL Announces Availability of $1M in Grants to Prevent, Address Workplace Gender-Based Violence, Harassment

On April 11, DOL announced the availability of $1 million in funding to support up to four grants to protect underserved and marginalized women workers from gender-based violence and harassment and to respond when it occurs. Read more here

H.R.6655, A Stronger Workforce for America Act, Passed House

On April 10, the Senate received H.R.6655 which was passed in the House on April 9. This Bill will amend and reauthorize the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act. The legislation is meant to boost the nation’s job training system as lawmakers seek to tackle labor shortages and prepare for employment changes fueled by artificial intelligence. More information is available here.

Lawmakers Push Skills-Based Hiring for Federal Contractors, Federal News Network

The bipartisan ACCESS Act, if enacted, would remove college degree requirements from jobs in the federal contracting space. As agencies have been gradually shifting toward skills-based hiring, a pair of lawmakers is seeking to expand that effort to another group: federal contractors. Read more here.

Upcoming Labor & Employment Presentations

CONFERENCE: Pricing it Right – Current Impacts on Cost and Pricing Strategies, Nichole D. AtallahApril 18, 2024. Read more here.



S.2871, Multi-Cloud Innovation and Advancement Act of 2023, Introduced in Senate

On April 10,  the Senate Committee of Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs introduced S.2871 which will advance Federal Government innovation through the implementation and use of multi-cloud computing software technology. More information is available here.

With 2027 Deadline Looming, DOD Moves Into Implementation Phase of Zero Trust Transformation, DefenseScoop

After months of preparation and funding, the Defense Department has begun executing its ambitious plans to transition to a zero-trust cybersecurity framework by the end of fiscal 2027, according to multiple senior IT officials at the Pentagon. Read more here.

CISA’s ‘Cyber Storm’ will help it update National Cyber Incident Response Plan, Federal News Network

CISA’s “Cyber Storm” event features more than 2,000 participants across government and industry working together to respond to a major cyber incident. The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency is readying the playing field for its major “Cyber Storm” exercise intended to simulate the response to a large-scale cyber incident on critical infrastructure. Read more here.

When Can U.S. Spies Buy Your Personal Data? New Guidelines Are Coming, NextGov/FCW

Certain missions require government acquisition of personal information collected by data brokers, and appropriate safeguards need to be put in place, the official said at a Cyber Command-hosted event. The Office of the Director of National Intelligence will soon release guidelines to help the intelligence community better gauge ethical considerations for operatives who purchase commercially available data that can include sensitive personal identifiers, a top Pentagon lawyer said. Read more here.

Wyden Bill Requires New Cyber Standards In Federal Tech Procurement, NextGov/FCW

The legislation comes in the wake of several cyber incidents targeting the federal government. A new bill led by Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., would require new interoperability and cybersecurity standards for online collaboration tools acquired by the federal government. Read more here.



Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Proposed Rules: Excise Tax on Repurchase of Corporate Stock and Excise Tax on Repurchase of Corporate Stock – Procedure and Administration

On April 12, IRS published Proposed Rules to provide guidance regarding the application of the new excise tax on repurchases of corporate stock made after December 31, 2022. The proposed regulations would affect certain publicly traded corporations that repurchase their stock or whose stock is acquired by certain specified affiliates. The Proposed Rules are available here and here. Comments close June 11, 2024, for “Excise Tax on Repurchase of Corporate Stock” and May 13, 2024, for “Excise Tax on Repurchase of Corporate Stock-Procedure and Administration.”