White House threatens veto on sequestration bill — 7 Stories you need to know

On GovLoop Insights’ DorobekINSIDER:

  • Want real time economic data? The Census Bureau has lauched an App for that. It’s called America’s economy and it brings together data from 16 different economic indicators. Click here for the full story.

The SEVEN stories that impact your life

  1. The House is expected to pass a measure today to keep the government funded for six more months. The continuing resolution increases the federal budget by $19 billion compared with a House GOP plan. Federal News Radio says overall, it’s a 0.6 percent raise in government spending. Tea party Republicans oppose any increase, but some said they could be in a better bargaining position when the CR ends. The Senate is expected to pass the bill next week. Then members will once again leave Washington and hit the campaign trail.
  2. The White House issued a sharp veto threat of a bill tailored to avoid Pentagon budget cuts slated to take effect in January. Federal Times says the veto threat came in a state of administration policy that stated White House officials believe the bill “fails the test of fairness and shared responsibility.” The legislation, called the National Security and Job Protection Act, was introduced by Rep. Allen West, R-Fla., who stringently opposes new defense cuts. West’s bill would slash $19 billion from discretionary spending accounts, and also contains language that would force the president to replace billions in cuts to planned Pentagon spending set to take effect Jan. 2.
  3. How much money does it cost to protect your federal office? Federal Times reports, the Federal Protective Service collected $236 million in fees last year from agencies to perform security threat assessments on federal buildings, but the agency is failing to perform that job. The Government Accountability Office found FPS currently is not assessing risk at the over 9,000 federal facilities under the custody and control of in a manner consistent with federal standards
  4. The Office of Special Counsel is accusing an agency leader of violating the Hatch Act. It said Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius crossed the line in a February speech. CNN reports she was on duty when she urged people at a Human Rights Campaign gala to vote for President Barack Obama. Sebelius says OSC was wrong. She reclassified the speech as a political event, which political appointees are allowed to attend. The Obama presidential campaign reimbursed the government for the travel costs. The Hatch Act prohibits federal employees, including political appointees, from politicking while on the job.
  5. Just one day remains for voting in the first HHS innovation People’s Choice Award. The Department of Health and Human Services is asking the public to vote on employee projects for innovation within the department and health care. Finalists’ projects range from a little box that can sniff out coal mines for explosive dust accumulations to a food sanitation training course. Voting ends on Friday.
  6. Lynn Mofenson, a doctor at the National Institutes of Health who helped pioneer the use of a drug to combat the transmission of HIV from infected pregnant women to their babies has been named federal employee of the year by the Partnership for Public Service. The annual gala known as the Service to America Medals honors feds who have gone above and beyond the call of duty.
  7. The FOIA backlog is growing. Agencies received more than 640,000 Freedom of Information Act requests last year, an 8 percent increase from the year before. And the backlog grew to more than 83,000 pending requests even though the government added more staff and spent an extra $20 million on FOIA activities. But it still couldn’t keep up. The Department of Homeland Security had the biggest number of overdue requests. The Justice Department has released the latest figures in its summary of annual FOIA reports.

A few items from the DorobekINSIDER water-cooler fodder

  • How Facebook drove voters to the polls: New research reveals that by allowing users to indicate whether they voted or not, Facebook likely drove an additional 340,000 voters in the U.S. to polls on election day in 2010. Technology Review quotes James Fowler, a political scientist at University of California, San Diego: “Seeing the faces of friends accounted for all this effect on voting. And it affected not only people who saw them, but friends, and friends of friends.”
  • NASA may have put a nuclear-powered robot on Mars. But two other rovers are taking home the prize. The team behind older Mars rovers Spirit and Opportunity has earned a Haley Space Flight Award. The team at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., joins the likes of John Glenn, the first man to orbit the Earth, in receiving the award. The solar-powered Spirit and Opportunity have been on Mars for almost nine years. Opportunity is still at work, exploring rocks in search of clay, which could provide new information about a formerly wet environment.The small rovers pale in size when compared to their newest cousin, Curiosity. It landed on the red planet last month and is the size of a car.
  • And just for fun, Google now helps you calculate the Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon. The Next Web reports that to use it, type in the words ‘Bacon number’ (without quotes), followed by an actor or actresses name. Google will come back with how closely he/she has been to Kevin Bacon.

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