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Obama Fills Out Cabinet – Plus the DorobekINSIDER’s 7 Stories

On GovLoop Insights’ DorobekINSIDER:

The SEVEN stories that impact your life

  1. Tuesday was Surgeon General Regina Benjamin’s last day. According to The New York Times, she will return to work at the clinic she founded in Alabama and it is suspected she will run for Congress next month. Dr. Benjamin was widely praised for her efforts to prevent diseases and promote physical fitness. This is a crucial time for the Obama administration, as crucial provisions of the health care law take effect next year.
  2. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has ordered 20 percent across the board budget cuts for his Pentagon staff and other leading officials. Federal News Radio reports that the reductions are for the 2015-2019 period. This is just one element of a broader effort to adjust forced spending reductions, which already have resulted in furloughed civilian workers.
  3. The Internal Revenue Service is canceling the scheduled July 22 furlough day for employees. According to Federal News Radio, the agency has implemented a number of cost-cutting measures, including potentially eliminating employee bonuses for IRS managers and executives. The National Treasury Employees Union and IRS are working together to identify cost savings sufficient to allow the agency to cancel future furlough days as well.
  4. On Tuesday, the Senate Republicans agreed to confirm several of President Obama’s executive branch nominees, and in exchange, Democrats agreed to leave existing filibuster rules in place. The Washington Post reports that Senator Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) and Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.) were key players in negotiating the deal between the parties. Richard Cordrary, Obama’s choice to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, was confirmed Tuesday afternoon.
  5. This Wednesday Attorney General Eric Holder spoke out against the “stand-your-ground” laws, such as the Florida law used to acquit George Zimmerman. According to the Government Executive, Holder called for a national dialogue on violence and communities. He also urged everyone to avoid violent altercations with law enforcement officials in the aftermath of the Zimmerman trial.
  6. Microsoft asked Attorney General Eric Holder to review a gag order that prevents the company and others from disclosing secret national security request for customer emails, Skype calls, and documents stored on servers. Federal News Radio reports that the company is limited in what it can publicly say about the requests for information and is forced to combine all requests, including those from law enforcement officials and the NSA, into one report. Microsoft asserts that the gag order violates the company’s right to free expression.
  7. Top Obama administration officials appeared before the House Judiciary Committee Wednesday to defend government surveillance programs that stirred controversy when they were disclosed by Edward Snowden. According to The Washington Post, Deputy Attorney General James M. Cole asserted that the programs achieved the right balance between protecting America’s safety and their privacy. Deputy Director of the National Security Agency, John C. Inglis, and General Counsel in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, Robert S. Litt, and Executive Assistant Director of the FBI’s National Security Branch, Stephanie Douglas, appeared with Cole to defend the policies.

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