Weekend update — the hold has been lifted!

Congress continues to be in session this coming week. Here is a link to the Week in Congress’s report on last week’s actions on Capitol Hill.

The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee is holding a business meeting on Wednesday morning. The first orders of business are to consider the President’s nominee’s for OPM’s Director, Dr. Jeff T.H. Pon, and Deputy Director, Michael Rigas. The Chairman, Sen. Ron Johnson (R Wisc) has lifted the hold on their nominations which he had placed as leverage to obtain OPM’s cooperation in his investigation of OPM’s 2013 decision to provide an FEHBP level government contribution toward coverage of members of Congress and their staffs in the DC small business exchange. This makes the FEHBlog quite happy.

The Committee also will consider Chairman Johnson’s bill (S. 2221) to repeal the ACA’s multi-state program which OPM administers and has only one participating plan operating in one state, Arkansas Blue Cross, for 2018.

The President will release his FY 2019 budget tomorrow. Of course, Congress has already passed and the President has signed an FY 2019 budget agreement but the devil is in the details.

Federal News Radio reports that OPM has released its Quadrennial Federal Workforce Priorities Report, the first of its kind, details the steps agencies should consider when reshaping the government workforce and improving employee engagement. The report does not discuss the FEHBP.

The Washington Post reports that

OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma said on Saturday that it has cut its sales force in half and will stop promoting opioids to physicians, following widespread criticism of the ways drugmakers market addictive painkillers.
The drugmaker said it will inform doctors Monday [February 12] that its sales representatives will no longer visit physicians’ offices to discuss the company’s opioid products. It will now have about 200 sales representatives, Purdue said.
“We have restructured and significantly reduced our commercial operation and will no longer be promoting opioids to prescribers,” the company, based in Stamford, Conn., said in a statement.

Sometimes better late than never is not good enough.