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All Eyes on the Debt Ceiling – Plus the Seven Gov Stories You Need to Know

On GovLoop Insights’ DorobekINSIDER:

  • Time is running short for Congress to raise the nation’s borrowing limit — the Treasury Department says it will run out of spending authority by Feb. 27. One of the ways the government can buy time during a default is to borrow from the G-Fund. But what does that mean for your retirement plan?

You can find all of our programs online: DorobekINSIDER.com and GovLoop Insights at http://insights.govloop.com.

But up front: All eyes on the debt ceiling

The Washington Post: With the clock ticking, Republicans seek a solution to raising debt limit, but not a fight: House Republicans return to Washington on Monday still struggling to find a path to raising the Treasury Department’s borrowing authority, but the normally raucous caucus is in unusual agreement that the best option is to put the white-knuckle confrontations of recent fiscal wars behind them. Facing a timeline that leaves no room for trial and error, some party leaders were advocating a debt-ceiling solution that would wrap several popular, must-pass items around a provision to extend the federal government’s borrowing authority beyond the November midterm elections. That approach has drawn support from some surprising quarters, but several senior GOP advisers made it clear over the weekend that such a proposal would require a bloc of Democratic votes, because about 30 Republicans oppose raising the debt ceiling under any circumstances.

Politico: Clock Running On Debt Ceiling: Time is running short for Congress to raise the nation’s borrowing limit — the Treasury Department says it will run out of spending authority by Feb. 27. Congress recesses this week on Wednesday, then takes a week off and comes back Feb. 25 — just two days ahead of the deadline.

The SEVEN stories that impact your life

  1. The Washington Post: Accenture, hired to help fix HealthCare.gov, has had a series of stumbles – “Accenture, the contractor urgently tapped to help fix the federal health-insurance Web site, is a favorite of corporate America but has a record that includes troubled projects and allegations of ethical lapses, a review of the consulting giant’s history shows.”
  2. Federal News Radio: TechAmerica lawsuit against ITI Council to move forward – “TechAmerica won the first battle in its lawsuit against the Information Technology Industry Council and three former employees.”
  3. Federal Times: EPA going ahead with early-outs, $25,000 buyouts. “Many Environmental Protection Agency employees will receive information this week on their eligibility for early retirement and buyouts worth up $25,000, according to the agency’s deputy administrator, Bob Perciasepe.”
  4. Federal Times: OPM contracted USIS to review quality of its own work. “The contractor being sued by the Justice Department for allegedly submitting at least 665,000 flawed background investigations to the government has been under contract by the Office of Personnel Management to oversee its own work and that of other contractors, Federal Times has learned.”
  5. GovExec: Your Post Office Now Wants to Be Your Bank – “The post office isn’t known as the most efficient or reliable business in America. It can’t run its operations at a profit, it’s got serious financial troubles, and just try mailing a package on a Saturday without waiting in line for 30 minutes.”
  6. Federal News Radio: AFGE see ranks swell after turbulent year – “After a turbulent 2013 that saw sequestration budget cuts and a two-week government shutdown, the largest federal-employee union is hoping to flex more political muscle this year.”
  7. DOD: Officials Warn of Website Scam Targeting Soldiers, Families – “The Army warns soldiers, a scam website is masquerading as the official benefits website. The difference is in the URL. usmilitarybenefit.org is not an official website.

A few items from the DorobekINSIDER water-cooler fodder… yes, we’re trying to help you make your water-cooler time better too…

  • Slate: NASA’s need to find a justification for its existence has damaged its integrity: NASA had captured the public’s imagination by putting men on the moon, one of the pinnacles of human achievement. But after the climax, the government immediately lost interest in getting its rockets off to the moon again. Less than half a year after Apollo 11, NASA began canceling Apollo missions. Apollo 20 was first to go, and as the agency’s budget detumesced, two others soon followed. (Nixon reportedly considered canceling even more.) The moon race was history. On to the next act.
  • Defense One: Think Tanks’ Dream Defense Budgets Defeat China, But Not Politics: Four of Washington’s premier think tanks presented their dream defense budgets that reveal one common theme: national security leaders know a lot more about getting past China’s defenses than they do about getting past House and Senate budget leaders. A perfect world for think tanks, it seems, would be free of the partisan politics that govern the Pentagon and all government spending, and of the actual spending constraints limiting Defense Department strategists today. Positioning nuclear attack submarines, stealth fighters and missile defenses closer to China’s front door is an easy call. Positioning a defense authorization bill that includes modest cuts to military benefits and raises underpriced healthcare costs – well, that’s not the job of Washington’s defense spending brain trust. The result is that what the groups undertook wasn’t so much an exercise in making hard choices in defense budgeting or strategy, rather it was a grown-up game of Risk, where maps and weapons systems come first and the resources to pay for the people that make it all possible remain a given.

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