The quantity of TSP millionaires keeps declining.John Sanders
Members in the Thrift Savings Plan, whose accounts have a combined value of over $1 million, are seeing a steady decline in the number. According to the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board, there are currently about 65,000 TSP millionaires. That represents a 36% drop from last year and a 9.3% drop from the previous quarter. TSP millionaires now account for slightly under 1% of all TSP accounts. Comparatively, those figures to 1.7% last fiscal quarter and 3% in the previous year.
Veterans registered in VA healthcare can now get screened for hazardous exposure. According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, the exams last between five and ten minutes and are followed up every five years. Over 13,000 veterans were screened as part of the VA’s pilot program earlier this year, and it was discovered that more than a third of them were worried about hazardous exposure. The PACT Act, passed and signed into law in August and intended to assist veterans exposed to harmful compounds like Agent Orange or those found in burn pits, is the cause of these exams.
Federal workers just surpassed a long-standing record for union membership. According to the American Federation of Government Employees, last month had the highest number of new memberships in October over the previous five years. AFGE experienced its most considerable net growth in October since 2015, adding 677 new members overall after taking into consideration those who retired or left the union.
The Transportation Security Administration should address potential discrimination at airport security checkpoints, according to some fresh suggestions from GAO. According to a recent study from the Government Accountability Office, TSA doesn’t collect statistics on passengers who are recommended for additional screening, making it difficult for the organization and others to verify whether it is adhering to non-discrimination laws. The TSA has been accused of prejudice. The GAO determined that TSA has taken specific steps to stop bias, including more training and officer oversight. However, GAO stated that in addition to gathering more information, the organization could improve its public education efforts regarding the procedure for filing discrimination complaints. The GAO’s suggestions were accepted by the Department of Homeland Security.
Beginning their educational journeys are the inaugural class of Air Force and Massachusetts Institute of Technology Artificial Intelligence Accelerator trainees. To better grasp how to employ AI on the battlefield and in corporate settings, the Air Force said 200 participants would go through a series of training sessions. The ability to directly apply AI-enabled skills will be taught to airmen and guardians of various rank and responsibility levels, from top executives to developers, acquisition workers, and operators. More than 1,400 proposals were submitted to the Air Force for the inaugural AI Accelerator pilot project.
The mega-cloud contract with the Interior Department is out there. To give its bureaus more discretion over how and when they employ cloud services, the government is putting together a deal. A cloud broker system will be developed as part of the Cloud Hosting Solutions III contract to manage a portfolio of cloud computing, storage, and application services from several vendors. According to the revised request, the broker will give Interior the option to hire or pay-as-you-go third-party services from vendors to improve or complete the CSP environment related to the award. The deadline for submissions for this task order with a single award and a ceiling of $1 billion is December 19.
With regard to the backlog of retirement claims, the Office of Personnel Management is making some headway. In October, OPM received about 6,500 retirement claims, but cleared nearly 7,900. That reduces the backlog of retirement claims to just over 25,000. OPM’s “steady state” inventory of 13,000 claims is still far beyond that figure. The OPM processed over 115,000 retirement claims in fiscal 2022, which is the second-highest number in 22 years.
The Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs is looking for suggestions on including more public participation in the federal rulemaking process, particularly from marginalized communities. On November 17, OIRA is organizing a live virtual meeting to get feedback from the public. Email responses are also welcome. The Biden Administration stated that the feedback would assist shape the next Open Government National Action Plan from the White House.
Upwards of $2 billion has already been spent by federal agencies to assist Florida in its hurricane Ian recovery. Most funds, including more than $700 million to individuals and more than $300 million to the state government, were delivered through FEMA. Meanwhile, the National Flood Insurance Program has currently reimbursed $350 million in claims, while the Small Business Administration has distributed more than $600 million in disaster loans.