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10:30 am, October 21, 2014

Congressional Spotlight

Cuts to military pay and benefits can't wait, Pentagon tells Congress

Defense officials say they are eagerly awaiting next year's report from a congressionally-chartered commission that's currently examining military compensation. But officials say intense pressure on the top-line defense budget demands significant changes to personnel spending.

Thursday - 03/27/2014, 04:30am EDT
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House Dems push for larger pay raise for feds

House Democrats are pushing for federal employees to get a pay raise next year that's more than three times larger than President Barack Obama proposed. A bill introduced Wednesday by Reps. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) and Jim Moran (D-Va.) would provide federal employees with a 3.3 percent across-the-board pay raise in 2015.

Wednesday - 03/26/2014, 10:47am EDT

Army foresees another drop in military readiness if sequestration returns

The Army says it is now replacing funds in its readiness accounts that were depleted when cuts under sequestration first kicked in a year ago. But last year's readiness problems are likely to repeat in 2016 and beyond if Congress allows the automatic Defense cuts in current law to persist.

Wednesday - 03/26/2014, 04:09am EDT
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Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.)

Congress will try again this session on cybersecurity legislation, but some of the problems that prevented it from passing the last several years are back again. Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, talked to In Depth with Francis Rose about cyber legislation in his office on Capitol Hill today. He says the landscape looks a little different for the legislation this time around.

Tuesday - 03/25/2014, 05:58pm EDT
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Issa threatens subpoena over real property data

Reps. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), the chairman of the oversight committee, and John Mica (R-Fla.), chairman of the Government Operations subcommittee, want OMB to provide data to the committee on excess federal properties valued at $50 million or more. The committee has been seeking this information for more than two years, "yet these requests have consistently gone unfulfilled," Issa and Mica wrote in a March 24 letter to OMB Director Sylvia Burwell.

Tuesday - 03/25/2014, 05:07pm EDT

GOP lawmakers seek updated 'official time' report

Two Republican members of the House want to know how many hours federal employees are spending on union-related business while on the job. Reps. Dennis Ross (R-Fla.) and Phil Gingrey (R-Ga.) wrote to Office of Personnel Management Director Katherine Archuleta urging the agency to release updated data on employees' use of "official time." The most recent year for which data is available is from 2011.

Tuesday - 03/25/2014, 02:37pm EDT

Jeremy Herb, Staff Writer, The Hill

The Senate Intelligence Committee will vote on whether to release key parts of its investigation into CIA interrogation tactics. A vote to publish the materials could worsen relations between the panel and the agency and force President Barack Obama to intervene. Federal Drive hosts Tom Temin and Emily Kopp spoke with Jeremy Herb, staff writer at The Hill newspaper, about what comes next.

Tuesday - 03/25/2014, 01:52pm EDT
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David Hawkings, Senior Editor, Roll Call

Congress is back in session starting this afternoon and its schedule this week makes it look like the budget is on their minds. David Hawkings, senior editor at Roll Call and host of the Hawkings Here blog, talks to In Depth with Francis Rose about the upcoming budget battles.

Monday - 03/24/2014, 06:27pm EDT
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Peter Gosselin, senior health care analyst, Bloomberg Government

The administration considers cutting IT spending to fund Obamacare.

Friday - 03/21/2014, 10:46am EDT
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Agency FOIA officers discontent with House reform bill

The FOIA Act of 2014 would amend the Freedom of Information Act in 12 ways. It calls for the online portal and requires more oversight by agency inspectors general. But some agency FOIA officers say the bill only would improve the information disclosure process minimally.

Wednesday - 03/19/2014, 06:19am EDT
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Jeremy Herb, staff writer, The Hill

The Defense Department's civilian workforce is in Congressional crossfire.

Tuesday - 03/18/2014, 09:01am EDT
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Former CIA probers urge new investigative panel

F.A.O. Schwarz Jr., former chief counsel for the Church Commission, and more than a dozen former congressional aides urged Congress to appoint a special panel to examine the secretive operations of the CIA and the National Security Agency and their impact on Americans' civil liberties.

Tuesday - 03/18/2014, 01:38am EDT

Eric Shinseki, Secretary, Veterans Affairs Department

Cash, drugs and science experiments are all part of VA's fiscal 2015 budget request.

Monday - 03/17/2014, 04:58pm EDT
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Bob Silverman, president, American Foreign Service Association

Career diplomats are unhappy with certain diplomatic appointees.

Monday - 03/17/2014, 10:55am EDT
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Air Force says readiness problems will last through 2023

Air Force officials say their service already was facing readiness issues because of the high operational tempo of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. But sequestration worsened the problems, and continuing the budget caps will set back a readiness recovery.

Monday - 03/17/2014, 06:50am EDT
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U.S. goes high-tech to help oversee Afghan aid work

The main U.S. foreign assistance agency wants to step up use of smartphones, satellite imagery and GPS cameras to oversee tax-funded development projects in Afghanistan that aid workers no longer will be able to observe firsthand as American troops leave the country.

Sunday - 03/16/2014, 11:50pm EDT

What can USPS learn from TRICARE in funding retiree health care costs?

As lawmakers consider efforts to shore up the Postal Service's financial footing, there's still widespread disagreement over whether the current requirement for the agency prefunding requirement is fiscally responsible, as Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-Texas) argued during a House Oversight and Government Reform subcommittee hearing Thursday, or an "onerous mandate" only required of the Postal Service, as Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-Mass.) contended.

Friday - 03/14/2014, 02:48pm EDT

Military facilities get shorted as part of DoD's tough 2015 budget choices

The Pentagon's 2015 budget request includes sharp cuts in funding for construction and maintenance on military bases, which congressional appropriators immediately denounced. But Defense officials say they could do a better job of maintaining military bases if they were allowed to close they ones they no longer need.

Thursday - 03/13/2014, 04:14am EDT
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Senate bill would combine, eliminate 300-plus federal reports

Legislation newly introduced in the Senate proposes to scrap hundreds of unneeded, outdated or repetitive reports. The House, meanwhile, is marking up its own version of the bill.

Wednesday - 03/12/2014, 03:47pm EDT

Obama administration looks to standardize agencies' FOIA regulations

Amid a Congressional push to add new teeth to the 1966 Freedom of Information Act, federal officials insist they are taking steps on their own to make sure agencies release information to the public. Among the efforts is a move to standardize agency rules around FOIA and create a single Web portal for FOIA requests.

Wednesday - 03/12/2014, 11:29am EDT
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