On GovLoop Insights’ DorobekINSIDER:
With technology playing a central and critical role in the way government operates you would think the Chief Information Officer would have a seat at the table. But that isn’t always the case. Insights from former USPS CIO Bob Otto.
But up first: the budget breakdown
President Obama issued his fiscal 2014 budget. As always, the budget is merely a proposal. It still has to go through the legislative process, which recently more often then not simply doesn’t happen.
Where the money comes from . . . and where it goes.
*Washington Post: Click for the full graph.
Obama’s budget: 5 takeaways: President Barack Obama rolled out his budget Wednesday—with few new blockbuster ideas to show for the extra two months he spent on it. Among Politico’s highlights: Obama’s top priority isn’t a grand bargain; It doesn’t kill the mood; America gets a peacetime budget
- Gun control, immigration and budget talks: Is there a thaw in Washington? — For the first time in a while, members of the two parties — at least some of them — appear to be talking about getting things done, even without the deadline of a manufactured crisis looming. With Sens. Joe Manchin III (D-W.Va.) and Patrick J. Toomey (R-Pa.) reaching a deal to expand background checks on firearms purchases, the way appears to have been cleared for the Senate to start debate on gun-control legislation. Although their provision is not as far-reaching as what President Obama proposed after the Newtown massacre in December, he praised it as “common sense.” Another bipartisan deal also is in the offing, as a group of eight senators nears final agreement on a plan that would give illegal immigrants a path to legal status and, potentially, citizenship. – Washington Post.
- Obama releases a budget plan with a simple goal: Ending the debt standoff — In the first budget of his second term, President Obama set aside the grand ambitions that marked his early days in office and sent Congress a blueprint aimed at achieving a simple goal: ending the long partisan standoff over the national debt. The 10-year budget request Obama unveiled Wednesday calls for nearly $300 billion in new spending on jobs and public works. That includes a landmark $77 billion expansion of preschool education financed by smokers, who would have to pay an extra 94 cents a pack for cigarettes. But barely five months after winning a decisive reelection victory, Obama proposes nothing on the scale of the $1.2 trillion initiative to extend health coverage to the uninsured that he pursued after taking office in 2009. By Lori Montgomery
- Pentagon’s proposed budget about same as last year — President Obama’s proposed $526.6 billion defense budget would keep military spending relatively steady in 2014, while calling on the Pentagon to find $150 billion in savings over the next decade as it wraps up an era of costly ground wars and invests to fight emerging threats such as cybersecurity. The plan’s biggest pitfall may be that it was drawn up under the assumption that automatic cuts mandated by Congress will somehow be averted by the end of this fiscal year, an assumption that analysts called foolhardy – Washington Post.
The SEVEN stories that impact your life
- The Defense Department is trying to “re-program” its budget request in hopes of offsetting some of the $41 billion sequestration cuts. Defense News reports, the Pentagon regained the ability to shift large amounts of funds last month when President Barack Obama signed a 2013 continuing resolution that contained a full defense appropriations bill. They say such funding transfers will allow them to partially offset the $41 billion 2013 sequestration cut between now and the end of September.
- The Obama administration has proposed to expand the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program to domestic partners — including both opposite- and same-sex couples — as part of sweeping changes to the program in its 2014 budget. GovExec reports the initiatives would improve efficiency and help recruit a better workforce while saving $8.4 billion over ten years.
- Also in the budget is a rise in IT spending. FCW reports, cybersecurity tops the administration’s IT agenda, with $13 billion related to projects designed to protect government and civilian networks. A new $79 million program is designed to help the Justice, Homeland Security, and Defense departments identify, track, and trace cyberattacks from incident to their origin.
- The Defense Department is planning to cut its civilian workforce by about 5 to 6 percent — between 40,000 and 50,000 positions — by the end of 2018. Federal Times reports, the department estimates it will have roughly 777,000 civilian employees at the end of fiscal 2013, and it will cut their ranks to about 765,000 next year.
- The Senate has confirmed Sally Jewell as the new Interior secretary. Federal News Radio reports, Jewell is the former CEO of outdoor equipment retailer REI. At Interior, she’ll oversee management of more than 500 million acres of public land, and a billion offshore acres. Jewell is likely to continue the renewable energy policies of her predecessor, Ken Salazar.
- The Postal Service has reversed its decision to end Saturday first class mail delivery. It’s an about face for Postal, which had been hoping to save $2 billion a year. But Federal News Radio reports the 2013 appropriations bill enacted in March told USPS to make no delivery changes until Congress said it could. The USPS Board of Governors told the agency to hold off. A big proponent of five-day delivery, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), says he was disappointed with the decision.
- And on GovLoop. You can now register for the April edition of DorobekINSIDER Live. We’ll be talking citizen engagement. Register for the free event here.
DorobekINSIDER water-cooler fodder
- NYT: HARVARD BUSINESS REVIEW calls data science “the sexiest job in the 21st century,” and by most accounts this hot new field promises to revolutionize industries from business to government, health care to academia.
- And how far is it to Mars?