Congress Averts a Gov Shutdown – Plus the DorobekINSIDER 7 Stories

On GovLoop Insights’ DorobekINSIDER:

  • The headlines surrounding sequestration have slowed down, but that doesn’t mean its gone away for feds. In fact, the effects of sequestration are piling up at agencies. The Partnership for Public Service has tips to balancing your work and sequestration. Click here for the full recap.

  • What’s the biggest challenge facing Gov 2.0? The DorobekINSIDER’s expert panel weighed in. Budgets, culture and procurement all topped the list. Find out why.

But up front: At least a shutdown has been averted

  • Washington Post: House approves resolution to keep government running; bill heads to White House.

Congress has approved a short-term spending measure that averts the chances of government shutdown next month, locks in the across-the-board sequester cuts but blunts its impact for certain key agencies. The House gave final approval Thursday on a broad bipartisan 318 to 109 vote to a continuing funding resolution that outlines spending through the Sept. 30 conclusion of the fiscal year. The bill now goes to President Obama for his signature, ending a relatively smooth and drama-free process for a Congress that has repeatedly deadlocked on spending issues. – Washington Post.

Meanwhile sequestration continues to march forward largely unnoticed. The Washington Post asks: Why have the Easter Bunny and White House tours have become the public face of #sequestration?

And Wednesday night was Federal Computer Week’s 24th annual Federal 100 Awards gala recognizing the 100 people who made a difference in government IT in the past year. (Click this link for more photos.)

*Photos courtesy of Leslie Barry

There was certainly a tone of weariness at the event as feds have been bludgeoned by ongoing budget battles and now sequestration. That being said, it was great to step away and look at the good work being done.

The two big awards:

The Fed 100 government Eagle Award to Homeland Security CIO Richard Spires

FCW: Eagle Award: DHS CIO Richard Spires.

The Fed 100 industry Eagle Award to Amazon Web Service’s Teresa Carlson

FCW: Teresa Carlson: Changing the game for cloud services.

You can find all the winners here.

The SEVEN stories that impact your life

  1. Congress has approved a bill to keep the government funded through the end of the fiscal year. The bill will avert a shutdown next week. The bad news is it doesn’t undo the $85 billion in spending cuts. Rather it gives agencies more flexibility to trim some programs and preserve others. It blocks the Agriculture Department from furloughing meat inspectors. It does not spare air traffic facilities or White House public tours.

  2. As part of the bipartisan budget bill that will keep the government funded through the end of the year, Congress has agreed to extend the federal pay freeze. Government Executive reports, the freeze would be extended through at least 2013.
  3. Meanwhile, Federal Times reports, the furloughs, pay freezes, possible retirement benefit cuts and other dire news for federal employees threaten to shatter the government’s recruitment and retention efforts, Obama administration officials and union leaders said Wednesday.
  4. Pentagon has put the brakes on sending out furlough notices – for now. Stars and Stripes reports, according to an email sent Thursday by DOD Acting Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness Jessica Wright and DOD Comptroller Robert Hale, “we are delaying the release of furlough notices to our civilian employees for approximately two weeks. We do not expect to release furlough notices until 5 April.” The delay is due in part to the continuing resolution.
  5. iPhones could be coming to DOD, according to the site Electronista. With BlackBerry about to launch the Z10 at the end of this week — the flagship of its BlackBerry 10 line — this isn’t the best time for one of the company’s largest customers to bow out. Especially not when that customer is the U.S. military. But that’s about to happen, according to a report from Electronista. The site has “well-placed sources” inside the Defense Department’s mobile device testing program, currently underway. Those sources say the Pentagon is about to place a massive order for 650,000 iOS devices to replace aging BlackBerry phones. As soon as the government’s sequester is over, then, the DoD looks set to order 210,000 iPhones, 200,000 iPods, 120,000 iPads and 100,000 iPad minis. These would replace the 470,000 BlackBerry devices currently in use — half of them at the Pentagon itself, half at field offices around the world.

  6. The CIA’s drone program may be coming to an end only to be shifted over to the Defense Department. The Daily Beast reports, three senior U.S. officials said that the White House is poised to sign off on a plan to shift the CIA’s lethal targeting program to the Defense Department. The move could potentially toughen the criteria for drone strikes, strengthen the program’s accountability, and increase transparency. Currently, the government maintains parallel drone programs, one housed in the CIA and the other run by the Department of Defense.

  7. California Technology Agency to Release IT Procurement Strategy: The CTA also released its 2013 Strategic Plan Update, which aims to expand online services, increase access from mobile devices, create innovative business systems and bridge the digital divide.

The DorobekINSIDER water-cooler fodder – The March Madness Edition

Chris Dorobek is not a big sports fan, but he knows there are many of you out there. Earlier in the week, we noted in the water cooler fodder the amount money that March Madness costs in terms of lost productivity. But it will go on, so… some fodder for those discussions:

  • CS Monitor: Mark your brackets: #NCAA Men’s tourney starts today. Predictions and early upsets.

  • BoozAllen Studies Environmental Impact of Upcoming Basketball Tournaments

  • President Obama’s Bracket for the 2013 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament

Wednesday, Twitter celebrates its seventh birthday. Yep, seven years ago, on March 21, 2006, co-founder Jack Dorsey sent the first tweet and Twitter was born. NPR / All Tech Considered Since then the social media company has been an important communication tool in everything from the Arab Spring and Occupy Wall Street, to its use as a megaphone for celebrities. Over the years, its relationship to its free speech principles has changed. New York Daily News With a few billion tweets now in the history books, the Daily News takes a look back at seven of the biggest moments that have helped propel Twitter as a social networking powerhouse.

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