The SEVEN stories that impact your life for Wednesday the 9th of May, 2012
- The White House is threatening to veto the Commerce and Justice Department’s funding bills saying they undercut the debt-ceiling deal reached last August. The Hill says the chief problem for the President is the bill is part of an overall Republican effort to cut $27 billion from domestic programs while increasing weapons spending. The House bill would provide more than 50 billion dollars in funding, that’s a reduction of $1.6 billion from last year’s level.
- Congressional leaders from the House and Senate are meeting to negotiate a new federal highway bill. But many insiders aren’t holding out much hope for a final resolution -- even Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood has expressed doubt that Congress will pass a multi-year bill before the November elections. But the Hill reports leaders from the 47-member panel say they have a blueprint. The Hill says the talks are likely to center on a controversial cross-country pipeline.
- The Securities and Exchange Commission has launched an investigation into misconduct in its inspector general’s office. The Wall Street Journal says the complaint includes allegations of sexual misconduct by current and former staff. The SEC is also looking at whether any of the misconduct compromised SEC investigations. The inspector general at the time of the alleged misconduct was David Kotz. But Kotz says as far as he know, the allegations do not involve him.
- Congress is acting fast to approve a must-pass Food and Drug Administration bill. The Hill says, Congress has until Sept. 31 to reauthorize the user fees that the FDA collects from drug and medical device companies. The fees have to be renewed every five years, and the reauthorization usually becomes a vehicle for broader policy changes. So far both Republicans and Democrats have been able to avert potential political controversies.
- The Senate’s bill to reform the Postal Service is getting some serious complaints from the Postal Board of Governors. The Board feels the Senate’s bill passed last month does not have enough cost reductions to return to profitability. The Washington Post says the bill would not allow USPS to close facilities as quickly as it thinks is necessary and prohibits, for at least two years, a move from six-day to five-day delivery. The Board of Governors wants the Senate to approve the business plan the Postal Service published back in February.
- The Air Force said it won't take action against airmen who complained about problems with the F-22 fighter. Earlier this week we told you about the Virginia Air Guard pilots who claimed faulty oxygen delivery systems caused pilot dizziness and blackouts -- and some pilots went on 60 Minutes. The Air Force said the problems have been repaired. The Associated Press says Lt. Gen. Janet Wolfenbarger, assistant secretary of the Air Force for acquisition, told a Senate subcommittee the pilots would receive whistleblower protections.
- And on GovLoop, it’s public service recognition week. But are you celebrating at your office? Is this week a big deal for you? We want to know. Coming up in a bit, we’ll talk to Tom Fox from the Partnership for Public Service about what makes this week so important for feds.
On today’s program
- The nominee to be the government’s new procurement chief is on Capitol Hill for his confirmation hearing. Joe Jordan isn’t well known -- and doesn’t have extensive procurement experience. What should be on his agenda? Insights from the former deputy at the Office of Federal Procurement Policy -- Rob Burton.
- It’s Public Service Recognition Week -- and Tom Fox from the Partnership for Public Service has some simple ideas to make your employees feel appreciated.
- What’s missing in your open data policy -- John Wonderlich from the Sunlight Foundation fills in the gaps.