DorobekINSIDER: 7 stories you need to know: Data Act hits a roadblock with OMB

The SEVEN stories that impact your life for Wednesday the 13th of June, 2012

  1. Congress is staying mum on the possibility of a federal pay raise. Government Executive says a Senate Appropriations subcommittee marked up its fiscal 2013 Financial Services and General Government spending bill. But just like the House panel, the Senate bill didn’t mention a possible federal pay raise next year. The annual financial services and general government bill is typically the vehicle for such federal pay provisions. The lack of provisions in both the House and Senate bills does not automatically mean federal workers will not get a pay raise in 2013.
  2. The Office of Personnel Management is asking agencies to be on the lookout for political appointees “burrowing in” to career civil service jobs this election year. Burrowing in is a term used to describe political appointees who want to transition federal careers. OPM Director John Berry has issued a memo to agency heads reminding them that personnel actions must “remain free of political influence or other improprieties and meet all relevant civil service laws, rules and regulations.” The Federal Times says unions in particular are against burowing in appointees. They say it messes up the federal government’s merit system.
  3. The Defense Departments has frozen conferences and associated travel. Federal Times says the freeze is in place while the DoD conducts a sweeping review. The goal is to cut travel costs across the department. Deputy Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter has ordered the military service chiefs to review all upcoming conferences costing more than $100,000 to ensure that they “significantly further the Department’s mission.”
  4. The Office of Management and Budget is not happy with the House’s version of the Data Act. Government Executive says the transparency bill would impose a universal reporting requirement for recipients of federal grants, loans and contracts. It would also require all agencies to use the same formats to publicly share their internal and external obligations and expenditures. OMB is concerned the “DATA Act takes guidance writing away from OMB and gives it to a newly stood-up entity, which creates a new layer of regulation, two sets of rules and additional regulatory complexity.” The Data Act is still being considered in the Senate.
  5. The leading senator on the Armed Services Committee says raising taxes, even in an election year, may be necessary to preserve the military’s budget. Senator Carl Levin says everything, including taxes and cuts to entitlement programs, should be on the table. Federal News Radio says lawmakers are trying to avert sequestration, the across-the-board cuts dictated by last year’s Budget Control Act. Levin says Congress should let the George W. Bush tax cuts on the wealthiest Americans expire and close various tax loopholes like offshore tax havens. Otherwise, he says sequestration would force cuts in 3 thousand military programs. GOP lawmakers are also speaking out against the dangers of cuts to the military but have not mentioned raising taxes.
  6. Presidential candidate Mitt Romney is fighting back against claims that he doesn’t care about government workers. Government Executive says the President’s campaign laid the charges while touting the president’s stalled jobs bill. They point to a Romney speech last week, during which he said Obama needed to “get the message in Wisconsin” that it’s time for government cutbacks. But Romney told Fox News that the claim he doesn’t care is absurd…since teachers, firefighters and police officers are hired at the local and state level. He says the federal government doesn’t pay for them. But, as GovExec points out, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has shown that funds from the 2009 stimulus bill were used to keep cops, teachers and firefighters on the payroll.
  7. And over on GovLoop, we are talking about getting rid of government jargon. Let’s get real, government has its own language and often times those acronyms make it hard to understand. We’ve got tips for eliminating gov speak. Check it out.

On Today’s DorobekINSIDER:

  • Stretch goals — are they good or bad for your organization? We get to the bottom of stretch goals with author Daniel Markovitz.
  • Nonprofits need a mission makeover — that’s the news coming from Next Generation of Government Training Summit Keynote Speaker Mario Morino. You’ll get a preview of his keynote address.

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