DorobekINSIDER: 7 stories you need to know: Sequestration Debate Heats UP

The SEVEN stories that impact your life for Tuesday the 17th of July, 2012

  1. The sequestration frenzy has hit Capitol Hill. Politico reports, the House will vote on a defense spending bill this week and they also plan on ordering the Obama administration to say how it would go about implementing the $500 billion in automatic defense cuts. But it doesn’t look like either side is willing to back down. The Hill Newspaper says House Armed Services Chairman Buck McKeon says Democrats are living in a fantasy when it comes to the impending cuts. But Democrats are quick point out that McKeon and other Republicans voted for the Budget Control Act last year, which set up the automatic cuts in the case of a supercommittee failure.
  2. The Food and Drug Administration captured thousands of messages that disgruntled scientists sent privately to lawmakers, lawyers, journalists and even President Obama. The New York Times reports what began as a narrow investigation into the possible leaking of confidential agency information by five scientists quickly grew in mid-2010 into a much broader campaign to counter outside critics of the agency’s medical review process. F.D.A. officials defended the surveillance operation, saying that the computer monitoring was limited to the five scientists suspected of leaking confidential information about the safety and design of medical devices.
  3. The Labor Department is offering $10,000 in prizes in a new challenge that calls for developers to create an app that will help people with disabilities get a job. Labor says submissions should be creative and innovative and offer the public easy access to important data and resources. Successful apps could take many different forms, such as interactive and informative games, social or professional networks or data visualization. Submissions may be designed for internet browsers, smartphones, feature phones, or as native Windows or Macintosh applications.
  4. Three out of 10 foreign-service jobs are either vacant or filled by junior staff. The Government Accountability Office says the State Department has the same staff shortage it did four years ago. Federal News Radio says that was before the department launched a recruitment program. GAO said the “Diplomacy 3.0” program increased hiring by about 17 percent. But the new recruits cannot fill most of the gaps because they are at mid-career levels. The department is relying more and more on civil-service workers and retirees.
  5. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton will broke a world record this morning when her plane touched down at Andrews Air Force Base. In less than two weeks, Clinton flew 27,000 miles. The AP says she visited Europe, Asia and the Middle East. One Clinton staffer told the Associated Press: the itinerary was “especially absurd … even for us.” Some have wondered if the miles were catching up to Clinton when she suffered a coughing fit in Hanoi last week. Clinton has visited 102 countries since becoming secretary of state.
  6. The government will supervise credit reporting for first time. The Associated Press reports that the companies that determine Americans’ credit scores are about to come under government oversight for the first time. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau said that it will start supervising the 30 largest firms that make up 94 percent of the industry. That includes the three big credit reporting
  7. The Wall Street Journal says the Defense Department is working on a radar station at a secret site in Qatar, as it prepares for a possible flare-up with Iran. The Pentagon is also deploying miniature underwater drones in the Persian Gulf to help search and destroy sea mines as part of a military campaign aimed at stopping Iran from closing the Strait of Hormuz in the Persian Gulf.

On today’s edition of the DorobekINSIDER

  • Doing more with less… open government… cloud computing… They are only some of the challenges facing the Environmental Protection Agency. We’ll talk to the agency’s Chief Information Officer — Malcolm Jackson.
  • And part-time retirement… it is now a reality. We’ll find out if it is something you should think about.

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