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8:26 am, November 1, 2014

Senate News

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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Federal Drive interviews - Nov. 19, 2012

Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) says that in spite of how it may seem, lawmakers understand the dangers of the fiscal cliff and Dr. Arjun Srinivasan talks about drug-resistant viruses known as superbugs that are on the rise.

Monday - 11/19/2012, 09:34am EST

Beef jerky, reality shows, beer: Coburn tells DoD to cut it all out

A new report, called the Department of Everything, says DoD spending over the next 10 years will total almost $68 billion on non- military goods and services. Some recent examples include a smartphone app to help military members manage their caffeine intake and the sponsorship of a workshop by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency called the 100 Year Starship project, which included a session called, "Did Jesus die for Klingons too?"

Friday - 11/16/2012, 05:33am EST
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McConnell breathes life back into Senate cyber bill

The Republican leader said today on the Senate floor that after the debates over the DoD and Intelligence authorization bills, lawmakers could address concerns about the Cybersecurity Act of 2012.

Thursday - 11/15/2012, 08:12pm EST

GOP senator outlines $68 billion in defense cuts

Defense spending could be slashed by $68 billion over 10 years if the military stopped spending millions on running grocery stores, operating its own schools and even developing a roll-up version of beef jerky, insists one of the Senate's leading fiscal conservatives. In a new report, Republican Sen. Tom Coburn dubs the Pentagon the "Department of Everything."

Thursday - 11/15/2012, 10:48am EST

Senate cyber bill is 'dead'

The upper chamber fails to move cyber bill out of starting blocks by receiving 60 votes to end cloture. Lawmakers couldn't get past their concerns over the requirement for regulations and DHS' oversight role.

Thursday - 11/15/2012, 05:55am EST
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Senate passes bill boosting payments to veterans

The Senate sent the White House a bill on Tuesday giving nearly 4 million veterans and survivors a 1.7 percent increase in their monthly benefit payments next year.

Tuesday - 11/13/2012, 07:19pm EST

Congress faces agenda of unfinished business

Averting sequestration sits atop the to-do as Congress returns Tuesday from a seven-week election break to a long list of unfinished business.

Tuesday - 11/13/2012, 05:46am EST
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