What Does Cantor’s Primary Defeat Mean for You - Plus the 7 Gov Stories

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But up front: What does Cantor’s primary defeat mean for you

Big changes are coming to the House of Representatives with the defeat of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor -- the first time a House Majority Leader has lost since 1899.

We don’t cover politics here -- we try to focus on what needs to happen after the screaming is done. But this race will undoubtedly have an impact on how government gets the job done.

I spent most of Wednesday at FCW’s Federal Summit 2014 -- and while the focus was on how technology can help government do its job better, on big data, on agility… the buzz was about the Cantor defeat and what it might mean.

Some take-aways from attendees:

  • The return of shutdown talk: Cantor has pushed to move past the shutdown, and there has been media discussion that position did not go over well in Virginia’s 7th district. There has been a general sense of (relative) calm in 2014 following the abysmal 2013 filled with shutdowns, sequestration and furloughs. There was strong concern that a more contentious House could restoke the shutdown talk.

    • More reading: Politico: Cantor Lesson to GOP: Stray at Your Own Risk – Cantor thought he was setting out to nudge the GOP gently in a winning direction. Instead, his collapse is a vivid illustration of the risks involved in seeking to move the GOP’s center of gravity even on a handful of issues.

  • People really don’t like government: The Cantor vote makes it very clear that there are people out there who really don’t like government. In fact, there is a growing division between those who believe government has a role and those who don’t.

    • More reading: The Washington Post: Pew poll: In polarized America, we live as we vote--It sounds like a cliche but it’s true. Conservatives and liberals don’t just differ in their political views. They like to live in different places, associate with like-minded people and have opposing views on the value of ethnic and religious diversity in their neighborhoods, according to a major new study by the Pew Research Center. Political polarization is now deeply embedded in the United States — more so than at any time in recent history, according to the Pew study — and has intensified in recent years. The percentage of Americans who hold either consistently conservative or consistently liberal positions on major issues has doubled over the past decade and now accounts for fully one-fifth of all Americans.

    • Read the Pew Research poll: Political Polarization in the American Public

  • People are frustrated: My general sense is that people are frustrated -- the country feels stuck. And just one data point comes from the state of Nevada where ‘None of the above’ beats out all Demo governor candidates.

  • 65,008 people: There were a number of people who stressed that the total vote in a primary race was about 65,000 people -- 65,008 to be exact. And one person noted that while the race is interesting and critical, it might not change everything. There are, after all, 318 million people in the United States.

The SEVEN stories that impact your life

1: Federal News Radio: Lawmakers push to approve unified veterans' bill- “After two overwhelming votes in two days, members of Congress say they are confident they can agree on a bill to improve veterans' health care and send it to the president's desk by the end of the month. The Senate easily approved a bill Wednesday to help shorten wait times for thousands of military veterans seeking medical care, a day after the House unanimously adopted a similar measure.”

2: Federal Times: Maj. Gen. William Bender named Air Force CIO- “Defense Department officials on June 10 announced that Maj. Gen. William Bender will serve as the next Air Force CIO, replacing Lt. Gen. Michael Basla. It is not clear when the transition will take place.”

3: FCW: Donovan talks up management in OMB confirmation hearing- “If appearances are any indication, Shaun Donovan is a tech-savvy guy. The current secretary of Housing and Urban Development and the nominee to head the Office of Management and Budget read his opening statement in his confirmation hearing from a tablet computer screen, rather than shuffling through papers.”

4: Nextgov: US Army Says it can Teleport Quantum Data Now, Too- “Quantum computing could revolutionize the way we interact with information. Such systems would process data faster and on larger scales than even the most super of supercomputers can handle today. But this technology would also dismantle the security systems that institutions like banks and governments use online, which means it matters who gets their hands on a working quantum system first.”

5: Government Executive: Retirement Claims Backlog Could Be Eliminated by Year’s End- “The Office of Personnel Management continued to chip away at the retirement claims backlog last month, decreasing it by 12 percent between April and May, and processing more applications than expected.”

6: Federal News Radio: US to review releases of criminal immigrants- “Government lawyers will review how the Obama administration releases some criminal immigrants facing deportation, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson told Congress on Wednesday.”

7: Government Executive: CIA Uses Its First Public Conference to Stress Value of Human Sources- “The nation’s oldest spy agency remains relevant in the digital age, CIA Director John Brennan told an academic conference on Wednesday, saying his team “still provides intelligence and analysis that social media and foreign partners cannot because nothing can replace the insight that comes from a well-connected human source.”

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