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Search Tags: Jack Moore
The six-month stopgap spending bill unveiled by the House Appropriations Committee this week officially continues the federal pay freeze until at least March. The continuing resolution, which runs through March 27, gives lawmakers more time to make appropriations for the coming year and staves off the threat of a government shutdown. When a broad CR was first announced last month, the full Congress had not yet approved any fiscal 2013 spending bills. President Barack Obama proposed last month a 0.5 percent pay raise that would only take effect once Congress passed a 2013 budget — a de facto extension of the current two-year freeze. The CR makes the extension official.
Stan Collender, a budget expert and partner at Qorvis Communications, said nobody should panic just yet about possible automatic, across-the- board cuts. They won't be enacted immediately, he told the Federal Drive with Tom Temin and Amy Morris. And Congress could still wiggle out of them.
Congress is demanding more answers about how $1.2 trillion in budget cuts set to take effect in January will be applied across the government. The House Budget Committee Wednesday unanimously approved a bill directing the Obama administration to provide Congress a report that provides specific details about how the spending cuts will affect federal agencies and programs. Meanwhile, the House Armed Services Committee formally requested that the head of the Office of Management and Budget, Jeff Zients, testify before the committee on the "mechanics and impact" of the automatic cuts.
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.
Civilian agencies may lose almost $40 billion dollars in top-line funding if sequestration goes into effect on Jan. 2, according to a new analysis by the Professional Services Council. Using fiscal 2012 as a baseline, PSC calculated civilian discretionary spending would decline by $39 billion and that individual agency budget would decline by 7.8 percent. More granular data are hard to come by until the Office of Management and Budget provides more details about specific about how the cuts will affect specific programs.
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.
Roger Waldron, the president of the Coalition for Government Procurement, said the members of his group, which include many of the largest players in the industry, are already preparing for how they'll shift gears. He joined In Depth with Francis Rose to discuss how the new strategy affects the contracting sphere.
It seems everyone would like to bend the ear of the 12 members of the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction.
A group of 26 Democratic senators wrote last week to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta urging the Pentagon to lift an "arbitrary" cap on DoD's civilian workforce, saying contractors hadn't been similarly affected by budget constraints. But the Professional Services Council, an industry group which represents many defense contractors, rebuts the charge that contractors haven't also felt the effects of the current fiscal climate.
A new Government Accountability Office report found that three main actors in contingency contracting — the Defense and State Departments and the U.S. Agency for International Development — will likely only implement a fraction of the recommendations set out by the Commission on Wartime Contracting. The agencies have either determined their existing policies already address the commission's concerns or they disagreed with the recommendation in the first place, GAO found.