We start off with a topic we come to so often… your money…
The House Budget Committee passed the Republican version of the fiscal 2013 budget yesterday — but just barely. Ezra Kline in the Washington Post’s WonkBlog notes that the House Budget Committee has 38 members — 22 Republicans and 16 Democrats. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), the chairman of the House Budget Committee, is the man who has in many ways defined the conservative approach to the federal budget… and yet the Ryan budget passed by only one vote.
Some of that leads the Wall Street Journal to suggest we may be headed to… yes, you know it — a government shutdown… even in the weeks before the election. The Journal says the budget act passed last year has been coming apart in pieces and the disagreements between the White House and congressional Republicans over spending levels has heightened the chance of a government shutdown just weeks before the November election. The budget agreement signed into law last August was supposed to help avoid such a showdown, but today, it seems possible. And the Journal says the flashpoint came this week Congressman Ryan called for more than $1 trillion in discretionary spending for the year beginning Oct. 1. That represents $19 billion less than the level agreed to with the White House last year and put into law.
We’ll watch it carefully, of course… we always try to stay away from shutdown hype, but even the talk impacts how government operates, so we’ll keep an eye on it.
We start with the stories that impact your life for Thursday the 22 of March, 2012… your government world in 120-seconds…
The House Budget Committee approved Chairman Paul Ryan’s 2013 budget resolution on late yesterday by a one vote margin — 19 to 18. The Hill reports that two conservative Republicans voted against the Ryan plan because it did not cut the budget fast enough. The Ryan plan would cut spending by $5.3 trillion over ten years. The tight vote indicates that next week House GOP leaders could face a larger floor defection than they did on last year’s budget, which got every Republican but four behind it. Republican leaders say they are confident the measure will pass even though they can count on no Democratic votes. Panel conservatives had wanted the bring discretionary spending down to $931 billion next year as part of a plan to balance the budget within a decade. The Ryan plan contains a compromise spending level $97 billion higher and it does not balance until nearly 2040.
All of this comes as people are getting more expensive. A new pay study by ClearanceJobs.net finds that pay is on the rise for many top government clearance jobs. The Washington Business Journal says the average compensation for those with security clearances in the D.C. region was nearly six figures in 2011 — that’s a 4 percent jump compared to the previous year. Compensation was also up for contractors.
The Army has launched its own App store prototype. The Software Marketplace delivers 12 mobile training applications to Soldiers to use on personal phones or tablets. The Army says the apps were developed by the Connecting Soldiers to Digital Apps (CSDA) initiative. The apps are available online viawww.marketplace.army.mil. The group community is continuing to submit new apps.
Meanwhile, the Army is in the middle of a major rethink of mobile devices, including how it secures them, how it buys them and ultimately, how it uses them, Federal News Radio reports. The push comes amid a mandate to find $1.5 billion in IT savings across the Army.
Four democratic Senators are pushing for automatic defense contractor suspensions for bad behavior in overseas operations. Washington Technology says under the new bill, companies would face suspension from their government work for criminal charges, accusations of fraud or if a federal official determines that the contractor failed to pay the government what’s due. The bill also includes another important provision that would forbid contractors to respond to past-performance evaluations. But the Bill is taking a lot of heat from the Commission on Wartime Contracting. The commission suggested lawmakers make it less difficult to suspend or debar contingency contractors and require a written rationale if an agency decides against it.
No more BRAC if one Senator has her way. Senator Claire McCaskill has put the kibosh on two new base closing commissions military leaders said they wanted. Marine Corps Times reported that Senator McCaskill who is the chairwoman of the subcommittee that oversees military installations, said her no-closures stance was not negotiable. House Armed Services Committee Chairman Buck McKeon also weighed in against further BRAC rounds. Pentagon officials said they needed to align real estate with a new, reduced force structure.
A new procurement center could help agencies beef up business with minority-owned companies. The Minority Business Development Agency is launching the office, which would work with firms of all sizes. It’s focus will be on companies that can serve as tier one contractors. MBDA chose the Metropolitan Economic Development Association to run the center with a $1.8 million grant. The center opens next Tuesday.
And on GovLoop, you may have noticed a few changes to the site…especially when you are crafting your blog posts. Now you are prompted to tag all your blog posts before they are published. It’s part of our effort to help send out your great content to the right sub-communities. Popular tags include, acquisition, career, communication and leadership.
It’s called disruptive innovation — and it is having an impact on how you do your job. And you’ve been having to deal with it already. But what is disruptive innovation… and how can you be at the forefront rather than being run over by it.
Making government information available: The Johnny Appleseed approach Waldo Jaquith, open government technologist
Virginia Decoded — its an open source platform designed to make accessing and understanding state-level legal information easier. Basically it takes the states, bills, codes and acts and compiles them together in an easy to understand and search-able platform. Virginia is the first state to deploy this platform, and the man behind it is Waldo Jaquith. He took me on a tour of the site.
What is the biggest challenge facing U.S. national security? The Council on Foreign Relations has its take… and they say it is the country’s troubled schools. In a report issued this week says that problems in U.S. schools are increasingly causing a national-security risk, producing adults without the math, science and language skills necessary to ensure American leadership in the 21st century. The report says that too many schools are failing to adequately equip students for the work force, and that many have stopped teaching the sort of basic civics that prepare students for citizenship. Resources and expertise aren’t distributed equitably, often hurting the most at-risk students. The situation, it says, puts the country’s “future economic prosperity, global position, and physical safety at risk.
I mentioned yesterday that it was the sixth anniversary of Twitter. And Twitter posted some updated numbers. In a blog post, Twitter says that at last check, there are more than 140 million active users (there’s that number again) — and today we see 340 million Tweets a day. That’s more than 1 billion every 3 days. And we’re asking what role Twitter has played in changing government…
And finally, speaking of the impact that social media has on governing, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg spoke about the difficulty governing in the age of Twitter. He said that things like Twitter means leaders sometimes have to be more short-term focused. The New York Times quotes the mayor saying, “We are basically having a referendum on every single thing that we do every day,” he said. “And it’s very hard for people to stand up to that and say, ‘No, no, this is what we’re going to do,’ when there’s constant criticism, and an election process that you have to look forward to and face periodically.” Read the speech.
Coming up tomorrow on GovLoop Insights’ DorobekINSIDER… it’s Friday so we’ll have our issue of the week… and there is little doubt about what the big issue has been this week. It is one that we talk about a lot… we’ll have that for you tomorrow.
That does it for us today. The producers of GovLoop Insights’ DorobekINSIDER are Emily Jarvis and Stephen Peteritas.
I’m Christopher Dorobek… Thanks for being here. Go out and do good work.