The President signs the 2013 budget – Plus the DorobekINSIDER’s 7 Stories

It’s Telework Week here on the DorobekINSIDER. Each day we will follow a trendsetters in telework.

On GovLoop Insights’ DorobekINSIDER:

  • Telework Week continues with columnist Suzanne McGee who says flexibility in work schedules is the only way to retain top talent. Click here for the full recap.
  • It seems everywhere you look these days agencies are talking about the value of innovation. But taking the concept of innovation and making it a reality can be a big challenge, especially during the sequester. We have 7 tips for breeding innovation.

But first: The government is funded through fiscal 2013

The AP reports: President Barack Obama has signed a stopgap spending bill to keep the government running through the end of September.

  • The measure leaves in place $85 billion in automatic budget cuts known as the sequester. But it takes steps to ease the impact of the cuts to food inspection and college assistance for active duty military personnel.
  • The House and Senate passed the spending bill last week. Without it, the government on Wednesday would have run out of money to keep operating.
  • The measure funds the day-to-day operating budgets of every Cabinet agency through Sept. 30, the end of the 2013 fiscal year. It also provides another $87 billion for overseas military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq and maintains a pay freeze for federal workers.

The SEVEN stories that impact your life

  1. Furloughs could slow down security clearances. Government Executive reports, Senator Susan Collins of Maine has asked the agency that handles the government security clearance process not to rescind employees’ credentials because of financial problems stemming solely from being furloughed.
  2. John Gingrich, the chief of staff at the Department of Veterans Affairs, has announced plans to leave the agency by March 31 after decades in public service. FCW reports, Gingrich was named VA chief of staff in January 2009, after serving as president at consulting firm Strategic LINX, Inc.
  3. In the wake of the 2011 cyber attack on the Thrift Saving Plan, the retirement’s website is getting more secure. Federal Times reports, The agency and its contractor, KPMG, are examining the TSP’s investment management operations and the handling of publicity for the TSP’s Roth investment option launched last May. Bailey said that Labor plans to triple the amount spent on oversight work compared to last year. He declined to give dollar figures because of “current governmentwide budget uncertainties.” In the July 2011 cyber attack, names, addresses, Social Security numbers, and other personal information for 123,000 TSP participants were stolen from a computer operated by Serco Inc., a contractor that provides record-keeping for employees, service members and beneficiaries with accounts.
  4. Federal News Radio reports, the Agriculture Department is putting more anti-poverty tiger teams in rural America. Secretary Tom Vilsack will make the announcement in South Carolina today. Staff help communities apply for loans and grants to fund wells, greenhouses and the like, even summer meals for poor school children. Vilsack says rural communities often do not have the technical wherewithal to know what federal programs are available or how to satisfy their requirements. The Strike Force initiative already operates in 10 states. They’ve seen dramatic growth in the number of USDA farm and housing loans awarded. One of the new states added is Virginia.
  5. Federal News Radio reports, tne lawmaker is promising his bill can lower prescription drug costs for federal employees.Rep. Steven Lynch (D-Mass.) says the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program is paying between 15 and 45 percent more for prescription drugs than other federal health care programs like those at the Veterans Affairs and the Defense departments. His bill would give the Office of Personnel Management, which runs the FEHBP, greater oversight authority. It would also require the middle-men who contract with insurance plans to return nearly all rebates, market share incentives and other bonuses from drug makers.
  6. NextGov reports, the comptroller general’s office has denied a federal contractor’s protest, clearing the way for the Interior Department to purchase a slate of cloud-based services including cloud storage and application hosting. This is Interior’s second major cloud acquisition to be delayed by a vendor protest. The government technology vendor Qwest Government Services challenged the June 2012 solicitation for foundation cloud hosting services arguing the goods and services Interior described were too vague and that the terms of the proposed contracts imposed too much risk on vendors.
  7. And on GovLoop. You can now register for the April edition of DorobekINSIDER Live. We’ll be talking citizen engagement. Register for the free event here.

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