On GovLoop Insights’ DorobekINSIDER:
- EPA's CIO Malcolm Jackson sat down with Chris Dorobek for an extended conversation about the tech trends in 2012. It was part of GovLoop's Government Technology: Year in Review. The review focuses on cloud computing, mobility, big data and agile. Click here for the full recap.
Perched on the Cliff: Days to Sequestration - 19
The AP reports, House Speaker John Boehner said Wednesday that "serious differences" remain between him and President Barack Obama in negotiations on averting automatic spending cuts and tax increases that economists fear could send the U.S. economy over a "fiscal cliff."
Boehner's comments came as top Democrats pushed back on GOP demands for tough steps like raising the Medicare eligibility age and curbing the cost-of-living adjustment for Social Security.
Boehner and Obama spoke on the phone Tuesday, a day after the president offered to reduce his initial demand for $1.6 trillion in higher tax revenue over a decade to $1.4 trillion. But Obama continued to insist that much of the revenue come from raising top tax rates on the wealthy.
And it's not just a Happy Holidays for Congress.
The Huffington Post says the stalled talks mean Congress will likely remain in session over the holidays. Boehner warned members of his caucus Wednesday that with talks on averting the "fiscal cliff" apparently stalled, they should not get their hopes up that they'll be going home for the holidays.
The SEVEN stories that impact your life
Change might be on the way for federal IT. Federal Times reports an ambitious plan is emerging in Congress that, if approved, would represent the most sweeping overhaul of the way agencies buy and manage information technology since the 1996 Clinger-Cohen Act, which created chief information officers at all agencies. At its center is a redefinition of what is a federal CIO would reduce the number of CIOs in government — to one per agency — and empower those remaining with more authority to decide how their departments’ IT dollars are spent.
- President Barack Obama has created an interagency council to help contractors sell their products overseas. Federal News Radio reports the new executive order names 15 agencies to the council, which will be led by the Commerce Department. By working together and in closer cooperation with foreign counterparts, the council will help all U.S. companies compete for international contracts. It also will spread the word about new foreign procurement opportunities to U.S. Businesses.
- GSA continues to buy and sell federal property. Federal Times reports, The General Services Administration awarded a $318 million contract to Clark Construction to design and build a new 550,000-square-foot courthouse in Los Angeles, according to a Dec. 10 announcement.
- Federal News Radio says the Veterans Affairs Department is battling Legionnaire's Disease at two hospitals in Pennsylvania. The VA confirmed five cases of the bacterial disease at its Oakland facility in Pittsburgh over the past month. One patient died. The Pittsburgh Post Gazette reports the victim's family has sued the VA. Now the bacteria has been found in the water supply of a building at the Butler, Pa., VA hospital, just north of Pittsburgh. A local TV station reports, the hospital director has ordered the water shut off there. The American Federation of Government Employees is calling for headquarters to launch an investigation.
- Federal Times reports, about 350 past and current Customs and Border Protection agents could receive thousands of dollars in back pay under a newly issued arbitrator’s decision. Between 2004 and 2006, Customs and Border Protection administrators failed to provide extra pay to Texas-based agents who used Spanish on the job, Arbitrator Louise Berman Wolitz wrote last week in her ruling on a grievance filed by the American Federation of Government Employees local that represented the employees at the time.
- The Education Department has given out $400 million in grants to promote local schools. The grants went to 55 districts in 11 states plus Washington, D.C. Three recipients are charter school groups. It's all part of this year's Race to the Top Competition, a signature education initiative of the Obama administration. The department turned down 300 proposals. Grants ranged from $10 million to $40 million. Typical is a $30 million grant to Miami public schools, where administrators are putting math centers in every building.
- And on GovLoop, the DorobekINSIDER was proud to be apart of our Technology Guide. If you haven't seen it we polled hundreds of GovLoopers to find the top tech trends of 2012. Take a look.
The DorobekINSIDER water-cooler fodder
Today Google published their annual review of 2012, highlighting the most searched moments of the past year. It’s a beautiful video, encapsulating the mesmerizing achievements, devastating losses and unique quirks that defined humanity this year. Check out the feds who made the list.