On today’s edition of the DorobekINSIDER
- Making mobile work at the Commerce Department. Insights from their CIO — Simon Szykman. Click here for the full story.
- Cloud computing — is it more hype or reality? The CTO of GTSI, Jim Sweeney… he has just released his new book: “Get Your Head into the Clouds.” Click here for the full story.
Washington this week is on the edge of its collective seats about the pending decision by the Supreme Court of the United Statesabout the Affordable Care Act and whether the provisions are constitutional. That decision is expected to come down Thursday, the Wall Street Journal says.
The DorobekINSIDER question: Does it matter to you — to government? When push comes to shove — and it probably will — but when this decision comes down, does it really impact the ‘business’ of government? Yes, it will mean a change of work for some folks at the Department of Health and Human Services, but… does it really make a difference for government workers? And how much should we at GovLoop — at the DorobekINSIDER be covering all of it? As I mention each day, our focus on six words: Helping the government do its job better. So I’m literally asking: Is there a way we can help? Or can we help by focusing on issues that government is working on?
- A big deal to prevent sequestration cuts at the Pentagon is still elusive in Congress. But both sides do agree sequestration must be stopped. Politico reports, defense contractors are also threatening to issue hundreds of thousands of layoff notices right before Election Day because of a federal law requiring businesses to give workers a 60-day notice if they’re facing layoffs. If Congress doesn’t strike a deal the automatic cuts will start January 30th.
- Meanwhile, the defense industry is arming itself for battle going into the lame-duck session.Politico reports the Aerospace Industries Association is blanketing Capitol Hill and congressional districts trying to make the case that lawmakers need to kill the defense spending cuts before catastrophic damage to the economy, jobs and the country’s national defense occur.
- A deal to help extend federal student loan interest rates could be close. Government Executive says Senate leaders are inching closer to a compromise on how to pay for a one-year extension of reduced federal student loan interest rates. According to reports in National Journaland Politico, the compromise centers around extending the current federal Stafford student loan interest rate of 3.4 percent for one year. Lawmakers are facing a July 1 deadline for the extension.
- The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is doing everything it can to ward off furloughs. Government Executivesays a Senate committee approved the agency’s request to reallocate $36 million to avoid furloughing 5,000 employees this summer, and House appropriators have said they likely will follow suit.
- Agencies are being asked to reduce the amount of paper they use. Cass Sunstein the administrator of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs sent a memo to agencies asking them to take additional steps to reduce paperwork. Government Executive says the memo is part of an overall effort to ease the burden of regulations on business, the public and federal employees.
- The Labor Department has awarded $15 million dollars in efforts to combat homelessness among veterans. The department says 64 groups around the country are getting money to provide job training for homeless vets. The Washington Post says more job training grants will probably be awarded in the next couple of years. The administration has set a goal of ending veteran homelessness by 2015. Labor Secretary Hilda Solis says the number of homeless veterans in the country is now below 60,000. (The Washington Post)
- And on GovLoop, our Next Generation of Government Training Summit is a little more than a month away. And we’ve extended the early bird discount for another week. So sign up now and save. This year’s conference features over 100 speakers. The conference kicks off July 26th.
A Few Closing Items
- One-hundred-thirty members of Congress or their families have traded stocks collectively worth hundreds of millions of dollars in companies lobbying on bills that came before their committees, a practice that is permitted under current ethics rules, a Washington Post analysis has found.
- Special Report: Capitol Assets- Lawmakers reworked financial portfolios after talks with Fed, Treasury officials- In January 2008, President George W. Bush was scrambling to bolster the American economy. The subprime mortgage industry was collapsing, and the Dow Jones industrial average had lost more than 2,000 points in less than three months. House Minority Leader John A. Boehner became the Bush administration’s point person on Capitol Hill to negotiate a $150 billion stimulus package. In the days that followed, Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr. made frequent phone calls and visits to Boehner. Neither Paulson nor Boehner would publicly discuss the progress of their negotiations to shore up the nation’s financial portfolio. On Jan. 23, Boehner (R-Ohio) met Paulson for breakfast. Boehner would later report the rearrangement of a portion of his own financial portfolio made on that same day. He sold between $50,000 and $100,000 from a more aggressive mutual fund and moved money into a safer investment. The next day, the White House unveiled the stimulus package, report Kimberly Kindy, Scott Higham, David S. Fallis and Dean Keating.