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Senate News

Mikulski becoming 1st woman to head Appropriations

Maryland Sen. Barbara Mikulski is set to become the first woman to chair the prestigious Senate Appropriations Committee, a position left open this week by the death of Hawaii Sen. Daniel Inouye.

Wednesday - 12/19/2012, 06:24pm EST

Sen. Leahy won't head Appropriations Committee

Sen. Patrick Leahy said Wednesday he would remain as chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee rather than take over the top slot on the Appropriations Committee, which became vacant this week with the death of Sen. Daniel Inouye.

Leahy, a seven-term Democrat from Vermont, said in a statement that continuing to chair the Judiciary Committee while "maintaining my seniority on the Appropriations Committee will allow me to protect both the Constitution and Vermont."

Wednesday - 12/19/2012, 05:22pm EST

Sen. Daniel Inouye of Hawaii dead at 88

Recovering from war wounds that left him with one arm, Danny Inouye wanted a cigarette and needed a light.

Monday - 12/17/2012, 08:07pm EST

On foreign policy, Kerry is Obama's good soldier

Democratic Sen. John Kerry stands tall as President Barack Obama's good soldier.

Monday - 12/17/2012, 08:45am EST

House OKs DHS audit, lightens GAO load

The House this week approved a handful of bills aimed at improving federal financial management and oversight of government operations. Two of the bills one requiring the Homeland Security Department to pass a complete financial audit and the other lightening the mandatory caseload of the Government Accountability Office have already been passed by the Senate and head to the president's desk for his signature.

Friday - 12/14/2012, 05:41pm EST

Lawmakers up in arms over report on Army payroll problems

The U.S. Army's $47 billion in annual military payroll accounts has caused major woes for some soldiers trying to collect their pay, according to a new report by the Government Accountability Office. As a result of the Army being unable to track and collect data on numerous pay errors including over payments, under payments, data entry errors and fraud, active duty soldiers are not receiving the correct compensation and this has a bipartisan team of lawmakers furious.

Friday - 12/14/2012, 03:17pm EST

Senators press Army on suspension and debarment delays

A bipartisan group of senators has written to top Army officials to express concern about delays in the suspension and debarment process that leave the service open to contracting waste and fraud. In a letter to Army Secretary John McHugh and Chief of Staff Raymond Odierno, the senators questioned "significant time lapses" between referrals for suspension and actual debarment of contractors in Afghanistan.

Monday - 12/10/2012, 07:42pm EST

Homeland Security grant spending questioned

The Homeland Security Department paid for an underwater robot in a Midwest city with no major rivers or lakes nearby, a hog catcher in rural Texas and a fish tank in a small Texas town, according to a new congressional report highlighting what it described as wasteful spending of tax money intended for counterterrorism purposes.

Wednesday - 12/05/2012, 09:44pm EST

Senate's defense bill cuts civilian workforce, caps contractor salaries

The Senate approved a $631 billion annual defense policy Tuesday that would require the Defense Department to reduce its civilian workforce by 5 percent over the next five years and impose a strict cap on government-funded contractor salaries. With the White House threatening to veto the Senate version its current form, the bill now heads to a House-Senate conference committee where differences between the two chambers' bill will be hammered out.

Wednesday - 12/05/2012, 05:37pm EST

Senate OKs Obama's choice for Afghan commander

The Senate approved Gen. Joseph Dunford, the assistant commandant of the Marine Corps, to be the top commander in Afghanistan.

Monday - 12/03/2012, 07:09pm EST

Senate unanimously passes Hatch Act update

On Friday, the Senate passed a bipartisan bill updating the Hatch Act, the law that restricts the political activities of federal employees.

Monday - 12/03/2012, 07:55am EST

Partisan split over UN Ambassador Rice widens

Republicans continue to argue that U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice is unfit to be secretary of state. Democrats say the criticism is unfair.

Monday - 12/03/2012, 03:34am EST

Veterans' gun rights sticky issue in defense bill

Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) sought to amend the bill to stop the Veterans Affairs Department from putting the names of veterans deemed too mentally incompetent to handle their finances into the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, which prohibits them from buying or owning firearms.

Monday - 12/03/2012, 03:32am EST

Senate moves forward with plan to reduce DoD civilian workforce

The Senate moved forward with a plan to require the Defense Department to reduce its civilian workforce by 5 percent over the next five years, after a measure striking that provision was defeated in a vote Friday. Earlier this week, Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) introduced an amendment to the 2013 National Defense Authorization Act, which would lift a mandated 5 percent reduction to DoD's civilian and contractor workforces over five years. But in a 53-41 vote, Cardin's amendment was defeated.

Friday - 11/30/2012, 02:50pm EST

Senate votes to require DHS clean audit by 2013

The Homeland Security Department would be required to conduct and pass a full financial audit under a bill unanimously approved by the Senate on Wednesday. The DART Act requires the agency, long characterized by the Government Accountability Office as being at high-risk for waste and abuse, to reach a clean audit opinion by 2013.

Thursday - 11/29/2012, 06:49pm EST

White House threatens to veto Senate Defense bill

The White House is threatening to veto the $631 billion annual Defense bill the Senate is debating this week unless Congress makes changes. The administration took issue with a number of provisions included in the 2013 National Defense Authorization Bill, which Senate leaders hope to vote on by the end of the week.

Thursday - 11/29/2012, 05:49pm EST

Senate gives green light to Pentagon green energy

The Senate on Wednesday gave the green light to the Pentagon's investment in green energy. By a vote of 62-37 on Wednesday, the Senate backed an amendment that would delete a provision in the defense bill prohibiting the military from spending money on alternative fuels if the cost exceeded traditional fossil fuels such as coal, natural gas and oil. The Pentagon has opposed the provision that a sharply divided Senate Armed Services Committee added in May.

Thursday - 11/29/2012, 04:52pm EST

Senate directs VA to work with state agencies to clear up claims backlog

The Senate unanimously approved a measure requiring the Veterans Affairs Department to work more closely with state agencies to reduce a longstanding and growing backlog of disability claims. The measure, sponsored by Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) was included as an amendment to the 2013 National Defense Authorization Act.

Thursday - 11/29/2012, 03:51pm EST

Senate debates 'arbitrary' cuts to DoD civilian workforce

Senators attempt to head off provision in annual Defense bill that would require reductions among Pentagon civilians.

Wednesday - 11/28/2012, 06:38pm EST

Warner hopeful feds won't feel a budget 'jolt'

Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) told The Federal Drive with Tom Temin and Emily Kopp that a large number of lawmakers from both parties support a plan that raises more revenues and recognizes that entitlement programs have got to be made viable over the long term.

Monday - 11/19/2012, 12:30pm EST
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