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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.
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.
The Office of Personnel Management received more claims than expected last month, but for the third month in a row processed more claims than it expected to. OPM has also made progress cutting the longstanding backlog of retirement claims. At 44,679 claims, there are now fewer retirement claims stuck in the backlog than there were in December 2011, when OPM began tracking them as part of a new push to eliminate the logjam.
Returns for most of the basic Thrift Savings Plan basic funds continued inching up in July, with only the S Fund, pegged to stocks of small and medium-sized U.S. companies, dipping into the red for the month.
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.
Defense industry executives have spent the last few weeks warning that across-the-board budgets cuts that go into effect in January, could force them to issue notifications to employees in the fall to warn of impending layoffs. However, in a new memo issued Monday, the Labor Department said the lack of clarity about how the cuts would be applied means it would be "inappropriate" to issue Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act notifications.
Legislation forcing the White House to explain how the across-the-board budget cuts known as sequestration will affect individual agencies is now waiting for President Barack Obama's signature. The Senate unanimously approved the Sequestration Transparency Act of 2012 Wednesday, which requires the administration to detail within 30 days how the $1.2 trillion over 10 years in automatic cuts will be applied. The House passed its version of the bill last week in a 414-2 vote.
The inspector general for the Social Security Administration estimated the agency is sitting on about $134 million for benefit checks that sit uncashed by recipients for more than a year - money subsequently returned to the agency. But the IG report found most of the recipients who didn't cash their checks are still eligible for the assistance and the SSA could take additional steps to ensure they receive them.
The House handily approved a bipartisan bill requiring the Obama administration to provide more information about how automatic, across-the-board cuts, known as sequestration, will be implemented starting in January. While the vote cut across party lines, lawmakers continue to disagree about ways to come up with alternatives.
The Office of Management and Budget has reiterated to lawmakers that the automatic, across-the-board budget cuts known as sequestration will apply to wartime funding. In a June 15 letter, to Rep. Buck McKeon, the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, Office of Management and Budget Acting Director Jeff Zients wrote that the Budget Control Act allowed no "flexibility" to exempt Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO), from sequestration.