The Seven Gov’t Stories you need to know: New travel rules for the Secret Service

The SEVEN stories that impact your life for Monday April 30th 2012…

  1. Secret Service trips are about to get a lot more strict. The Service has imposed new new rules aimed at tightening oversight of its employees on international trips in the wake of the Colombia prostitution scandal. The Washington Post says the new rules will ban staff members from bringing foreigners into their hotel rooms, drinking alcohol within 10 hours of duty and visiting “non-reputable establishments.” And those aren’t the only changes….the Secret Service will also hold an ethics training session for more than 100 employees, and several more mandatory courses will be scheduled through the year.
  2. A final cybersecurity bill could be on the horizon in the House. The Washington Postsays House Republicans and Democrats are optimistic about sending a cybersecurity bill to President Barack Obama. That optimism comes in the face of significant disagreements with the Senate and the White House. But there has been some progress. Late last week the House delivered a strong bipartisan vote for the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act despite a White House veto threat. The Post says the bill would encourage companies and the federal government to share information collected on the Internet to help prevent electronic attacks from cybercriminals, foreign governments and terrorists.
  3. Contractors could be out a percentage of money if their business systems aren’t up to government standards. The Washington Post says the Defense Acquisition regulation allows the government to withhold a percentage of payments to contractors if their business systems don’t meet government standards. The Pentagon says the regulation is meant to ensure the systems’ accuracy and prevent fraud, but contractor representatives said many companies are worried about how the rule will actually be used.
  4. The federal government isn’t winning any popularity contests. A new Pew Reserach Center survey finds public perception of federal workers has dipped to the lowest point in fifteen years. Just one-third of americans have a favorable view of the federal government. GovPro says back in 2002 more than 60 percent of Americans rated feds favorably. But it’s not all bad news the survey finds ratings of state governments remain in positive territory with a more than 50 percent positive rating.
  5. The Postal Service isn’t out of the woods yet. Federal News Radio reports that even though the Senate passed a comprehensive reform bill last week…it’s not to everyone’s liking. A House panel has approved a different measure. Its backers said the Senate bill made it too difficult to shutter post offices. Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) wants to create a commission to close postal facilities nationwide that would be similar to the military base closure process known as BRAC. Pressure is on for lawmakers to reach agreement quickly. The Postal Service said it will start closing thousands of post offices on May 15 if lawmakers fail to act.
  6. As budgets tighten and contract spending goes down..federal contractors are protesting more. The Washington Post says contractors filed more than 2300 protest-related cases during the last fiscal year with the Government Accountability Office. That’s up almost 18 percent from the year before.
  7. And over on GovLoop, we’re asking you…how do you navigate internal politics at your agency? It’s a fascinating discussion with one GovLoop member — Kanika Tolver — saying you have to brand yourself as you play the internal politics game. Really interesting stuff. Hop on over to our homepage and weigh in.

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