DorobekINSIDER: 7 stories you need to know: Congress tries to save Transportation Bill

The SEVEN stories that impact your life for Tuesday the 19th of June, 2012

  1. The federal workforce is shrinking. Federal Times says for the first time in five years the workforce declined by .5 percent. The Social Security Administration and IRS — which saw its staffs shrink 6 percent last year — warned Congress last month it cannot keep up with swelling workloads as baby boomers retire and more Americans file for benefits.
  2. Lawmakers are trying to save the stalled transportation bill. But with a June 30 deadline and just days away there’s still no agreement on Capitol Hill. NPR says one point of disagreement is whether to include a one-year extension to the federal pay freeze. The leaders, including Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Speaker John Boehner will meet later today to try for a last minute resolution. A 47-member House and Senate committee has been negotiating for more than a month.
  3. The federal pay freeze may go into a third year. Federal Times says democrats in the Senate made no attempt to include a pay raise in a key 2013 spending bill, dimming hopes that an end is in sight for the current two-year federal pay freeze. Senate Democrats are pinning their hopes on a rare scenario in which President Obama could unilaterally impose a pay raise for next year. Obama has proposed a 0.5 percent raise for federal employees.
  4. Meanwhile, top performers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology are likely to see smaller bonuses this year. Government Executive reports that is thanks to cost-saving changes in the agency’s personnel system. NIST eliminated mandatory minimum bonuses for superior and exceptional employees at the top of their pay band. The change affects employees in NIST’s alternative personnel management system. Those employees had been guaranteed bonuses equal to the increases they would have received if not for the governmentwide pay freeze. NIST imposed a similar bonus cap last year.
  5. The President is hoping to reinvigorate his plan to consolidate duplicative agencies and programs. Government Executive reports, in order for that to happen President Obama would need legislative authority from Congress, which isn’t likely to happen. In his 2011 State of the Union address Obama proposed consolidating commerce and trade-related agencies, including the Small Business Administration and the Export-Import Bank, expecting to eliminate 1,000-2,000 federal jobs through attrition and save $3 billion over 10 years.
  6. Federal IT spending will dip by 9% by 2017. Market researcher Deltek says the dip is due to fewer investments in hardware and information technology services. Federal Times says the federal IT market is projected to slump from $120.8 billion this year to $110.5 billion in 2017.
  7. And on GovLoop, we’re asking you to take five minutes and take our Bring Your Own Device Survey. And if you’re asking what’s in it for me? For your participation, you will receive exclusive first access to the GovLoop BYOD report, and a big “Hi-5” from the GovLoop team.

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