DorobekINSIDER: 7 stories you need to know: Transportation bill gets closer

The SEVEN stories that impact your life for Thursday the 21st of June, 2012

  1. The negotiations surrounding the transportation bill are improving. The Hill Newspaper says lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are more optimistic after the intervention by House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. Funding for federal transportation projects will expire on June 30 without a deal.
  2. The Government Accountability Office says the government knows very little about its federal properties. The Washington Post reports, some federal buildings listed as in “excellent” condition had damaged ceilings, collapsed roofs, radiological contamination or severe roof damage caused by large fallen trees. The government is the largest holder of real estate in the US.
  3. The Army has suspended a firm in Afghanistan after news broke about the owners’ tax debts and the admission by one owner that he launched an online campaign against journalists. USA Today says Congressman Hank Johnson, has asked Defense Secretary Leon Panetta to expand the Pentagon investigations into Leonie Industries. In a letter, Johnson says the company may have misrepresented its finances while bidding for federal contracts and had started an online smear campaign directed against two USA TODAY journalists.
  4. The government is getting quicker at processing security clearances. But the Government Accountability Office says now that the government has made progress they need to continue to improve. Federal Times says the government had been plagued for years by a sluggish pace of background checks, which left hundreds of thousands of federal employees, military service members and contractors waiting for months for their clearances.
  5. Wired Magazine’s Danger room says the tJoint Forces Staff College in Norfolk, Virginia offered a class urging senior U.S. military officers to wage ‘total war’ on Islam. According to an inquiry ordered by the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the class was the result of ‘institutional failures in oversight and judgment’ at one of the military’s top educational institutions. Those are the results of a months-long, military-wide review into the U.S. armed forces’ educational programs, prompted by a series of Danger Room articles on counter-terrorism training that sought to portray the world’s billion-plus Muslims as enemies of the United States.” The instructor of the course, Army Lt. Col. Matthew A. Dooley, spent weeks arguing that the US was at war with the Islamic faith. Dooley has now been stripped of his teaching position at the college and formally reprimanded — but not cashiered from the Army.
  6. The House has passed a new FDA bill that will help fund the agency. The Wall Street Journal says the bill will let the Food and Drug Administration collect about $6 billion in user fees from medical companies to help fund the agency. The bill, passed in a bipartisan majority voice vote, is expected to reach a final vote in the Senate next week. The $6 billion in fees would be paid over five years by the brand-name and generic drug industries and the medical-device industry.
  7. And on GovLoop, have you seen our new guide to workforce planning? The guide highlights best practices, tips and tricks and provide you with a starting point to improve your workforce development strategy. We have a video, audio and tons of blog posts to help walk you through the guide.

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