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5:37 pm, September 2, 2014

House News

Congress faces continuing resolution, sequestration and postal reform

Lawmakers returned to Washington, D.C., this week with a packed agenda. Topping the list of priorities is hammering out final details of a stopgap spending measure to keep the government running beyond the end of the fiscal year -- Sept. 30. Amid the election-year politicking, the list of unfinished business also includes legislation to restructure the financially ailing U.S. Postal Service and a cybersecurity bill that aims to safeguard the nation's critical infrastructure. Perhaps looming largest of all is what Congress plans to do about automatic, across-the-board cuts, known as sequestration, set to take effect Jan. 2. Failure to avert the cuts could send the country over a "fiscal cliff," budget experts warn.

Monday - 09/10/2012, 06:47pm EDT

White House misses deadline to deliver sequestration report, says plan coming next week

The White House plans to deliver a report to Congress late next week detailing how automatic, across-the-board cuts, set to take effect in January, will affect specific programs. The report is required under the Sequestration Transparency Act, which Congress overwhelmingly passed this summer and which the President signed on Aug. 7. The law directed the President to issue the detailed report within 30 days of signing it - a deadline that came this week and went unmet.

Friday - 09/07/2012, 03:19pm EDT

GSA expects $11M savings from travel, conference cuts

The General Services Administration projects it will save $11 million from April to September from reforms to employee travel and agency conferences. Since April, GSA canceled 47 conferences.

Wednesday - 08/29/2012, 08:56am EDT

Lawmaker says fed pay, benefits used as 'piggybank' in deficit reduction

Rep. John Sarbanes (D-Md.), whose district in the Washington, D.C., suburbs is home to many federal employees, said he understands the frustration voiced by federal unions about a de facto extension of the federal pay freeze. Sarbanes said too often lawmakers used federal pay and benefits as a "piggybank" in deficit- reduction efforts.

Monday - 08/27/2012, 07:08pm EDT
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VA paid $52K for 'Patton' conference training video

A 15-minute training video that cost $52,000 to make joins the examples of excessive spending at two Veterans Affairs' conferences last year with a total pricetag of $5 million.

Thursday - 08/23/2012, 09:45am EDT

Issa probing conferences that exceeded GSA price tag

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee is probing more than 150 conferences hosted by 11 agencies since 2005 where wasteful spending or excessive spending may have have occurred, according to a committee release. Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), the oversight chairman, said the committee is using the lavish $823,000 regional conference hosted by the General Services Administration in 2010 as a "benchmark" to compare other agencies' conference spending. The committee found the Defense Department has held 64 such conferences.

Wednesday - 08/22/2012, 08:33pm EDT

OMB: Spending bills exceed budget caps, could trigger cuts

Spending levels appropriated by Congress, so far, for fiscal 2013 fail to live within the limits set by last year's Budget Control Act (BCA), the Office of Management and Budget said in a report issued Monday. If Congress fails to adhere to the annual limits, OMB is required to enact automatic cuts to bring them back into balance, Acting OMB Director Jeffrey Zients wrote in a letter to President Barack Obama that preceded OMB's report.

Tuesday - 08/21/2012, 05:57pm EDT

Congressman pledges to hold hearings on VA conference spending

Spa treatments, concert tickets and helicopter and stretch limo rides — the initial details in a Veterans Affairs' Office of the Inspector General investigation could overshadow the GSA conference spending scandal.

Monday - 08/20/2012, 11:48am EDT
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Romney's VP pick targeted fed pay, benefits

Mitt Romney's vice-presidential nominee, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), was the main architect of a budget plan that would slash federal benefits and would extend the pay freeze.

Tuesday - 08/14/2012, 02:01am EDT

GOP lawmaker questions spending at VA conferences

A Republican lawmaker is raising questions about spending at training conferences held in Florida last year by the Veterans Affairs Department that have prompted an internal investigation at the agency.

Monday - 08/13/2012, 09:47pm EDT

TSA gets positive reviews from most Americans, poll finds

A Gallup poll finds that 54 percent of Americans think the Transportation Security Administration is doing a good or excellent job.

Friday - 08/10/2012, 09:06am EDT

Major changes to performance management in OMB budget guidance

The White House issued the updated Circular A-11 guidance for the 2014 budget development. The performance management section includes some of the most significant changes. In an exclusive interview with Federal News Radio, OMB's Shelley Metzenbaum said agencies have a multi-year plan to improve programs and accountability.

Wednesday - 08/08/2012, 05:05am EDT
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Obama signs law requiring report on spending cuts

President Barack Obama has signed a law requiring him to report to Congress on where his administration would make some $110 billion in cuts to defense and domestic programs required by a deficit-cutting plan.

Tuesday - 08/07/2012, 04:38pm EDT

Johnson planning bill to change VA small business contracting process

Rep. Bill Johnson (R-Ohio) believes a VA contracting program that requires service-disabled vets control 100 percent of their company's decision-making to qualify is too onerous. And he wants to ease the requirements.

Tuesday - 08/07/2012, 05:34am EDT
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Issa seeks closer relationship between IGs, Congress

Too often Congress is left "in the dark" when it comes to inspector general investigations of agency misconduct, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), chair of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee wrote in a letter to 73 inspectors general. Issa said he wanted to "establish an understanding between Congress and the IG community" for more rapid reporting of agency misdeeds uncovered by their offices. In his letter, Issa asked the inspectors for more information about their reporting practices to Congress and whether any serious problems were ever not shared with lawmakers.

Monday - 08/06/2012, 09:06pm EDT

Senate panel revives dozens of tax breaks

The Senate's tax-writing panel voted to renew dozens of tax breaks for businesses like biodiesel and wind energy producers, even as the GOP-controlled House passed symbolic legislation to erase them and create a new tax code with lower rates and fewer special interest tax breaks.

Thursday - 08/02/2012, 05:34pm EDT

Lawmakers putting GSA's new conference spending rules to the test

House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee lawmakers were expected to ask the agency's inspector general to look into the 14th Annual SmartPay conference happening this week in Nashville. GSA says all conferences must go through a multi-step approval process, including those already in the planning stages for 2012 and beyond.

Thursday - 08/02/2012, 05:44am EDT
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DHS IG partners with CBP, ICE to investigate workforce corruption

The Department of Homeland Security's inspector general partnered with both Customs and Border Protection and Immigration and Customs Enforcement personnel to investigate an increasing number of cases. Leaders of all three reported to a House subcommittee hearing that the collaboration has benefited the investigation process.

Thursday - 08/02/2012, 05:27am EDT
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Budget-and-tax impasse threatens troops, economy

With the government heading toward a year-end "fiscal cliff," House Republicans approved a full plate of Bush-era tax cuts Wednesday that they said could help shore up a still-frail national economy. At the same time, the Obama administration warned that threatened budget cuts could send some of America's troops into battle with less training.

Wednesday - 08/01/2012, 06:47pm EDT

OMB to begin planning for sequestration

Faced with congressional inaction in averting looming across-the-board cuts that take effect in January, the Office of Management and Budget will begin meeting with agency leaders to discuss how the cuts will be implemented. In a memo to agency heads, OMB Director Jeff Zients said his office will consult with agencies to determine which budget accounts and programs are exempt from sequestration.

Tuesday - 07/31/2012, 06:20pm EDT
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