On GovLoop Insights’ DorobekINSIDER:
- Could 2013 be the year of mobility for the federal government? Yes, says the CIO at the Interior Department: Bernie Mazer. Mazer was part of our end of year review of the Top Technology Trends in Government. Also topping Mr. Mazer’s list, big data, cybersecurity and cloud computing. For the full recap click here.
But up front: Federal Gun Control Laws take center stage.
A petition asking the White House to immediately press Congress for tighter restrictions on gun ownership became the most popular ever posted to the White House’s We the People website after less than 48 hours online Sunday.
NextGov says the petition was filed in the hours following an elementary school shooting in Newtown, Conn., on Friday that left 27 people dead, including 20 children. More than 120,000 people had signed the petition as of 1 p.m. Sunday.
Petitions posted to We the People that receive more than 25,000 signatures are guaranteed a response from the Obama administration. We the People’s most popular petition prior to Sunday was written by a Texas resident seeking permission for his state to secede from the union.
President Obama at Prayer Vigil for Connecticut Shooting Victims: “Newtown, You Are Not Alone”
And on GovLoop we’re asking: Guns & Government: What’s the Solution?
David Grinberg writes, “It should be obvious by now that something is seriously wrong in America regarding the responsible use of firearms and effective enforcement of our nation’s gun laws. Last week’s gruesome shooting sprees in Newtown, Connecticut and Portland, Oregon, are the latest wake up calls in a long series of gun rampages. The latest gun massacres have left us shaken, shocked, outraged and bewildered. That’s because we know something is seriously wrong in society when any teenager, 20-something, person with a mental illness, or even an average law abiding adult can gain fast and easy access to military style assault weapons. The sole purpose of such weapons of warfare are to kill as many people as possible as quickly as possible.”
Fiscal Cliff Update
The New York Times writes, Speaker Boehner’s overture on taxes raises hope for fiscal deal. Speaker Boehner’s offer latest offer to President Obama would allow tax rates to rise on incomes over $1 million has already changed the terms of negotiations to avert a fiscal crisis in January, and both sides on Sunday expressed new optimism that a deal could be reached this week.
But we’re not out the woods yet.
Politico writes, a cliff deal still faces many hurdles. House Speaker Boehner jump-started the budget talks by offering to raise tax rates, but major differences on entitlements and revenue could prove difficult to bridge with only two weeks until the fiscal deadline.
The SEVEN stories that impact your life
- The 2014 federal budget is seeing big delays. ”The White House confirmed to POLITICO Sunday that it has deliberately slowed preparations for President Barack Obama’s fiscal 2014 budget until it has a better fix on the current talks with Republicans in Congress.The customary late November pass-backs from the Office of Management and Budget—telling federal agencies what resources they can expect to get in the the president’s request—have been put on hold.
- The Washington Post reports, President Obama hasn’t officially secured a second term in the White House. Technically, that won’t happen until the electoral college casts its ballots Monday — presumably in favor of the winner for each state. Even then, Congress has to formally declare Obama the victor after counting the electoral votes on Jan. 6.
- Federal Judges could be going to court of pay. The Washington Post reports, With the nation teetering on the “fiscal cliff,” federal judges may soon force Congress to dedicate possibly millions in judicial back pay.The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in October ordered Congress to pay six federal judges years of back pay. Now, a group of federal judges is pushing a class-action lawsuit to ensure that all the other federal judges who missed out on cost-of-living increases get their due.
- President Obama could name Senator Kerry as his new Secretary of State any day now. The New York Times reports, President Obama is leaning strongly toward naming John Kerry, the Massachusetts senator and unsuccessful Democratic nominee for president eight years ago, to succeed Hillary Rodham Clinton as secretary of state, according to administration officials and friends of Mr. Kerry. But the announcement will be delayed, at least until later this week and maybe beyond, because of the Connecticut school shooting and what one official called “some discomfort” with the idea of Mr. Obama’s announcing a national security team in which the top posts are almost exclusively held by white men.
- The government watchdog agency the Government Accountability Office found $2.3 billion in 8(a) contracts were awarded without justification. FedScoop reports, the contracts were awarded in part because of a lag in updating the federal acquisition regulations. The National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2010 required that the FAR be amended within 180 days after enactment to require justifications for 8(a) sole-source contracts over $20 million.
- Secretary of State Hillary Clinton won’t be testifying before the Congress today on Benghazi after fainting, falling and suffering a concussion. Politico reports Clinton was expected to testify this week before House and Senate committees about the Sept. 11 attacks on Benghazi. Clinton, 65, cancelled a trip to the Middle East and North Africa earlier this week because she had been suffering from a stomach flu. Clinton’s fainting episode took place earlier this week, State spokesman Philippe Reines said Saturday, although he did not give additional details.
- And on GovLoop, do you know what citizens really want from government websites. Yeah, we don’t either. That’s why we’re talking to the experts in our upcoming webinar ”Know What Citizens Really Want on Your Websites.” The event will be live on Thursday January 10th at 2pm. You can sign up here.
Te DorobekINSIDER water-cooler fodder
The Washington Post writes, ‘Fiscal cliff’? Britain has already jumped.– Is this what life on the other side of the “fiscal cliff” looks like? If President Obama and congressional Republicans fail to reach a deal in the coming weeks, Americans face a fierce wave of tax hikes and spending cuts that could threaten the U.S. economy. Yet Britain has already crashed over its own economic precipice, with the Conservative-led government unleashing a radical experiment in austerity since coming to power in 2010 that has seen public spending corralled and taxes increased on this side of the Atlantic. Two-and-a-half years into Britain’s budget-cutting plan, the world’s seventh-largest economy has just emerged from a double-dip recession with economists warning that a third downturn could be on the way this winter, reports Anthony Faiola.