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2:32 pm, December 20, 2014

Congressional Spotlight

IRS imposes hiring freeze, eliminates overtime to deal with budget cuts

Budget cuts are forcing the IRS to impose a hiring freeze, except for emergencies, and eliminate almost all overtime. Commissioner John Koskinen said the cuts could also delay tax refunds, reduce taxpayer services and hurt enforcement efforts.

Friday - 12/19/2014, 05:04am EST

House lawmakers call for OFPP to issue reverse auction guidance

Reps. Jeff Miller (R-Fla.) and Sam Graves (R-Mo.), chairmen of the Veterans Affairs and Small Business committees, respectively, wrote to Anne Rung, OFPP administrator, saying agencies still are "misusing" reverse auctions to "evade competition and compliance with other procurement regulations."

Wednesday - 12/17/2014, 04:50pm EST

Obama approves $1.1 trillion federal spending bill

President Barack Obama signed Congress' $1.1 trillion spending bill on Tuesday, putting an official end to the last-minute negotiations for the fiscal year 2015 budget - at least for now.

Wednesday - 12/17/2014, 06:46am EST

Senate passes retroactive mass-transit benefit for workers

The Senate passed a broad $41.6 billion program of tax breaks on Tuesday that will retroactively raise the monthly mass-transit subsidy to $250 per month for 2014. The extension of these tax breaks, however, will only last until the end of 2014.

Wednesday - 12/17/2014, 05:36am EST

Senate confirms Obama immigration nominee

Senate, over GOP objection, confirms Obama nominee to head Immigration and Customs Enforcement

Tuesday - 12/16/2014, 07:00pm EST

John Palguta, Vice President for Policy, Partnership for Public Service

The 114th Congress convenes on Tuesday, Jan. 6, with some new faces yet to be voted in for important oversights roles such as chairman for the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee and Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. John Palguta is the vice president for policy at the Partnership for Public Service. He joined the Federal Drive with Tom Temin to discuss what federal employees should expect in 2015 - from senior executives to civil service reform.

Tuesday - 12/16/2014, 08:00am EST
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David Hawkings, Senior Editor, Roll Call

The spending bill for the rest of fiscal 2015 -- except for the Homeland Security Department -- is on President Obama's desk, waiting for his signature. Congress was supposed to be gone by now; but, the Senate is still in session, and they may not leave for a while. David Hawkings is Senior Editor at Roll Call and writes the Hawkings Here blog. On In Depth with Francis Rose, he described the confirmation parade the Senate is on.

Monday - 12/15/2014, 04:46pm EST
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Levin, Coburn leave legacy of bipartisanship, oversight

Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) says "bipartisanship is not extinct" in his farewell speech to Congress. Wastebook author Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) says oversight is a duty that many senators continue to ignore.

Monday - 12/15/2014, 02:27pm EST

Senate cancels vote on Obama Social Security pick

Obama pick to head Social Security runs into more trouble; Senate cancels confirmation vote

Monday - 12/15/2014, 11:28am EST

Six years of waiting, cyber bills abound

The passage of five cybersecurity bills by Congress in the past week signals a long-coming and much needed change to how agencies defend their computer networks and hire the people to do that critical work.

Monday - 12/15/2014, 10:51am EST

Congress fails to revise FOIA despite bipartisan support

Bid to update Freedom of Information law falls short in Congress despite bipartisan support

Saturday - 12/13/2014, 01:40pm EST

Senate OKs defense policy bill

Senate backs defense bill expanding military campaign against Islamic extremists

Saturday - 12/13/2014, 10:10am EST

Gordon Adams, Distinguished Fellow, Stimson Center

About $490 billion go to defense spending in 2015, that's just under the $500 billion cap congressional budget leaders Pat Murray and Paul Ryan set last year. Overseas Contingency Operations get $64 billion in fiscal 2015. Gordon Adams, distinguished fellow at the Stimson Center and a professor of international relations at American University, writes about the deal in Foreign Policy magazine. He tells In Depth with Francis Rose that the defense spending deal and the OCO budget is more of a "shell game" that Congress can tap into to buy what it wants.

Friday - 12/12/2014, 04:18pm EST
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Congress OKs Border Patrol overtime pay reform bill

The goal of S. 1691, or the 2014 Border Patrol Agent Pay Reform Act, is to address and streamline Administratively Uncontrollable Overtime (AUO), the extra pay agents receive when their work demands they remain on the job beyond scheduled hours.

Friday - 12/12/2014, 04:07pm EST

Congress passes bill to auto-enroll new feds in TSP's Lifecycle Funds

Congress has passed a bill that will automatically enroll new federal employees in the Thrift Savings Plan's Lifecycle Funds (L Funds), rather than the Government Securities Investment Fund (G Fund).

Friday - 12/12/2014, 02:02pm EST

House approves $1.1T bill financing government

GOP House OKs $1.1T bill funding government after Obama helps round up Democratic votes

Friday - 12/12/2014, 08:34am EST

OMB holds shutdown calls 'over abundance of caution'

As a matter of "caution," the Office of Management and Budget discussed shutdown contingencies with agencies today as Congress continues to debate a bipartisan budget deal. Federal funding runs out at 12:01 a.m. Friday.

Thursday - 12/11/2014, 05:24pm EST

Jessica Klement, Legislative Director, NARFE

The Office of Personnel Management's retirement claims backlog is down by about 10,000 claims in the past 10 months. The average processing time is at 37 days. OPM says an updated case management system will help it do better, but it's not sure yet what exactly that system will look like. Jessica Klement, legislative director for National Active and Retired Federal Employees, and her association's president, Richard Thissen, testified Wednesday before the House Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on the Federal Workforce, US Postal Service and the Census. She tells In Depth with Francis Rose about the concerns she's hearing from NARFE members.

Thursday - 12/11/2014, 04:07pm EST
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FBI: Cyber attack against Sony would have bested most federal defenses too

Whether or not North Korea was behind the recent cyber attack on Sony Pictures, its level of sophistication suggests it was sponsored by a country, not a group of hackers. And the FBI believes the same attack could just as easily have penetrated most sophisticated networks, including government ones.

Thursday - 12/11/2014, 03:50am EST
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Coming at you in fiscal 2015: Highlights of the omnibus

What federal employees should know about the $1 trillion, 1,603-page spending bill for fiscal 2015.

Wednesday - 12/10/2014, 05:32pm EST
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