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3:53 am, October 21, 2014

Congressional Spotlight

Vice Adm. Norb Ryan, President, MOAA

The Senate Veterans Affairs Committee will consider the nomination of Robert McDonald as the next VA Secretary tomorrow. If the Senate confirms him, he'll inherit a Veterans Health Administration that hasn't had a major review of its healthcare system since the mid-1980s, according to the Military Officers Association of America. Vice Admiral Norb Ryan is president of MOAA. On In Depth with Francis Rose, he said Congress and the White House should build a commission focused on reforming the VHA.

Monday - 07/21/2014, 04:24pm EDT
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Robert Goldenkoff, Director of Strategic Issues, GAO

Restructuring the way the federal government organizes its employees is all of a sudden a big focus on Capitol Hill. Bills to change or kill the General Schedule are already floating around, and more may come. The House Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on the Federal Workforce, U.S. Postal Service and the Census looked at the future of the General Schedule with witnesses from the Office of Personnel Management, the Federal Managers Association, the American Federation of Government Employees and the Government Accountability Office. Robert Goldenkoff is Director of Strategic Issues at the GAO. He told the committee HR management in the Federal government has been on the GAO's High Risk list since 2001, but he said not all the news is bad on In Depth with Francis Rose.

Monday - 07/21/2014, 04:10pm EDT
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DoD must 'reset' to prepare for future budget struggles

To maintain readiness under current budget pressure, the Defense Department needs to have a long-term mindset and rethink their force structure, according to Rep. Rob Wittman (R-Va.), chairman of the House Armed Services Readiness Subcommittee.

Friday - 07/18/2014, 06:12pm EDT

Robert Levinson, Senior Defense Analyst, Bloomberg Government

Top Pentagon officials have been railing against the consequences of sequestration ever since the Budget Control Act was passed in 2011. And in their planning documents, they've also decided not to acknowledge the likelihood that the cuts are here to stay. For the last three years, officials have submitted budget requests that exceed the caps in current law, and they've indicated they plan to continue doing so in future years. Even if the Pentagon isn't building its military plans around sequestration, some outside analysts are taking a look at what various scenarios would look like under lower funding levels. One of them is Rob Levinson. He's a senior defense analyst for Bloomberg Government, and shared some financial predictions on In Depth with guest host Jared Serbu.

Friday - 07/18/2014, 04:07pm EDT
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Todd Harrison, Senior Fellow, CSBA

The Defense Department's overseas contingency budget might survive the end of military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. Wednesday, two of the Pentagon's top civilian and uniformed leaders asked the House Armed Services Committee to keep authorizing an OCO budget even after the U.S. finishes the draw-downs in the region. DoD's latest OCO request came late in the year, and it's less than Congress anticipated. The House set aside $79 billion for OCO funding when it passed DoD's baseline budget for fiscal 2015, but now the Pentagon is only asking for about $59 billion. Todd Harrison is senior fellow for the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments. He explained how the budget deliberations on Capitol Hill might unfold on In Depth with guest host Jared Serbu.

Thursday - 07/17/2014, 04:47pm EDT
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VA chief: Agency has lost trust of vets, public

Acting VA secretary says agency has lost trust of Americans, vows continued changes

Wednesday - 07/16/2014, 07:52pm EDT
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House spending bill calls for deep cuts to IRS budget

The House has approved a massive spending bill that would slash funding for the Internal Revenue Service by more than $1 billion next year. The agency, which has been under fire for the improper targeting of conservative groups, would see its current $11.3 billion budget decline by 13 percent under the Financial Services and General Government Appropriations bill for fiscal 2015 passed by the House Wednesday. But that's just one of the the provisions of the bill drawing the ire of the Obama administration, which issued a notice earlier this week threatening to veto the legislation.

Wednesday - 07/16/2014, 05:43pm EDT

GSA to be 'more forceful' in real-estate decisions

The General Services Administration needs to step up its leadership to take advantage of cost-saving real estate opportunities, according to House members participating in a recent round table discussion.

Wednesday - 07/16/2014, 02:10pm EDT

Senate derails Army bid to take Guard helicopters

Army bid to take Apache helicopters from Guard loses first Senate test after states resist

Wednesday - 07/16/2014, 12:30pm EDT

What's the latest from Capitol Hill?

Jon Etherton, president of Etherton and Associates, Inc., will give us an update on the procurement issues being discussed on Capitol Hill.
July 15, 2014

Tuesday - 07/15/2014, 07:33pm EDT
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Lawmakers, OPM seek facelift for aging GS system

There's growing consensus on Capitol Hill and from the Obama administration that the pay and personnel system used by the federal government since 1949 and infrequently updated is showing its age and due for a major facelift. Lawmakers probed the General Schedule system Tuesday during a hearing before the House Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on the Federal Workforce, U.S. Postal Service and the Census.

Tuesday - 07/15/2014, 06:11pm EDT

Larry Allen, President, Allen Federal Business Partners

As Congress tries to piece together the big National Defense Authorization Act for 2015, it's also looking back to the version of the bill it passed two years ago and asking what ever happened with some of those provisions. The 2013 version of the NDAA included several provisions dealing with small business that made advocates happy. But several of those legal changes are still awaiting agency regulations to actually implement them. The House Small Business Committee held a hearing on the matter earlier today. Larry Allen was among the witnesses. He's president of Allen Federal Business Partners. He shared his insights on the neglected proposals on In Depth with guest host Jared Serbu.

Tuesday - 07/15/2014, 05:13pm EDT
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VA cites progress on backlog; Congress disagrees

VA cites progress on benefits backlog, but congressman accuses agency of 'hiding' numbers

Tuesday - 07/15/2014, 05:02pm EDT
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House bill would give Federal Register a facelift

The House of Representatives passed a bill that would modernize and digitize the Federal Register, allowing the Federal Register to say goodbye to its print legacy.

Tuesday - 07/15/2014, 04:43pm EDT

House easily passes TSP restructuring bill

The Smart Savings Act would make the Lifecycle Funds the default investment option in the Thrift Savings Plan for new federal employees.

Tuesday - 07/15/2014, 03:55pm EDT

Get rid of the ATF? Why one Congressman wants it gone

A top House overseer of federal law enforcement thinks that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) should be dissolved.

Tuesday - 07/15/2014, 12:25pm EDT
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Ben Goad, Staff Writer, The Hill Newspaper

President Barack Obama pledges to hit the accelerator on key policy goals, with or without Congress' help. The White House has released a report recounting more than 40 administrative actions taken this year and hinting at more to come. It's fodder for a lawsuit filed by House Republicans. But the administration makes no apologies. Ben Goad is a staff writer at the Hill Newspaper. He joined Emily Kopp on the Federal Drive to discuss what's happened and what we can expect before year's end.

Tuesday - 07/15/2014, 09:26am EDT
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David Hawkings, Senior Editor, Roll Call

The Senate plans to mark up the 2015 defense appropriations bill on Thursday. That will probably help make it the first appropriations bill to pass the Senate for fiscal 2015. Meanwhile the House will try to pass its seventh appropriations bill. Congress as a whole needs to pass 12 spending bills by September 30th if it wants to avoid another continuing resolution or a full government shutdown. David Hawkings is Senior Editor of Roll Call. He shared Capitol Hill's progress on the bills on In Depth with guest host Jared Serbu.

Monday - 07/14/2014, 04:56pm EDT
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Brenda Farrell, Government Accountability Office

Over the past decade, Congress has stepped up pressure on the Defense Department to gather data about its civilian workforce, and to use that data to develop a strategic workforce plan. The Pentagon has a plan, but according to the Government Accountability Office, it has some gaps: It leaves out some of the information Congress mandated. DoD's workforce strategy doesn't appear to be tied to either its budget plans or its broader management strategies. Brenda Farrell is director of defense capabilities and management at GAO. She discussed the report on In Depth with guest host Jared Serbu.

Monday - 07/14/2014, 04:51pm EDT
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Jon Adler, Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association

The House's top overseer over federal law enforcement agencies thinks the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has outlived its usefulness. Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI), the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee says he plans to introduce legislation that would abolish the ATF -- and fold its current responsibilities into other federal agencies, including the FBI and the U.S. Marshals Service. His argument: the ATF has been marred by high-profile blunders and it has missions overlap with other agencies. Jon Adler is national president of the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association. He took a different view on In Depth with guest host Jared Serbu.

Friday - 07/11/2014, 04:44pm EDT
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