The SEVEN stories that impact your life for Thursday May 3rd, 2012:
- The House GOP budget puts avoiding defense cuts above poverty programs. Politico reports, "The House Budget Committee is meeting to put the final touches on the more than $300 billion 10-year package -- the opening shot of a fall campaign to preserve defense spending without bowing to Democratic demands for new taxes. Monthly food stamp benefits would be cut, hitting millions of single-mother households by summer’s end. Unemployed workers would be dropped from the rolls until they spend down their cash savings below $2,000 -- one-fifth of Romney’s famous $10,000 bet. Working-class, often Latino, parents would be denied child tax credit refunds if they lack Social Security cards proving they are authorized to work in the U.S. These are immigrant taxpayers whose average annual wages are $21,240 and generate far more for the Social Security system in payroll taxes than any refunds they receive."
- The government has arrested 100 people in another huge health care fraud bust. Government Executive says the group is charged with defrauding Medicare, Medicaid, and other federal programs for a combined $450 million. CNN says this bust is the largest in recent history.
- The Pentagon is considering raising the profile of its cyber command. The Washington Post says senior military leaders are recommending that the Pentagon’s two-year-old cyberwarfare unit be elevated to full combatant command status. The move sends a signal to adversaries that the military is serious about protecting its ability to operate in cyberspace. Right now there is no timeline in place for the move.
- Secret Service investigators say prostitutes used by agents in Colombia posed no national security threats. Officials have been poring over interviews with the women. Federal News Radio says none of the woman have connections to any watch list or any other connection to terror groups.
- More than 1,200 employees took early retirement and buyout offers from the IRS in fiscal 2011. Federal Times says that represents more than 1 percent of the agency's total workforce. The National Treasury Employees Union, which represents IRS workers, says the agency has lost 5,000 employees over the past two years, and the cuts are hurting the agency's ability to help customers. Meanwhile, the number of tax returns being filed is growing.
- Congress wants the Pentagon to cut back on contracts. Federal Times says Twenty-six Democratic senators sent a letter to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta asking him to cap the number of contract employees it relies on at 2010 levels. Senators want the Defense Department to eliminate the arbitrary cap on the civilian workforce or provide a waiver so that managers can use civilian employees if they have weighed the costs and funding is available. The department's spending on service contracts has dropped almost 10 percent since 2009.
- And over on GovLoop, we’ve been talking about leadership all week. The Partnership for Public Service’s Annual Best Places to work rankings had feds ranking their leaders poorly. But GovLoop’s own Pat Fiorenza has the 10 best traits for the trusted leader. Did we miss some? Head over to GovLoop to check it out.
On today’s program
- Are you being crushed by email? Advice on how to avoid the email landslide.
- Mastering government public relations -- it isn’t as easy as you think.
- 25 Old Fart Rules for work -- he’s a hint -- never say no