On GovLoop Insights’ DorobekINSIDER:
- What are the 4 biggest challenges facing the White House Innovation Fellow for RFP-EZ? Our expert panel weighs in. Click here for the full recap.
- With a national election looming on the horizon and terms like “fiscal cliff” and “sequestration” being thrown around by policymakers, pundits, and the media, it’s hard to ignore the fact that we’re currently experiencing a period of great uncertainty surrounding the federal budget. Federal leaders are no doubt worried about what might happen, and wonder what they can do to keep their agencies and employees moving forward, despite the uncertainty. The Partnership for Public Service weighs in. Click here for the full recap.
Debate Night Coverage Prep
The first presidential debate — and as we noted earlier this week, one of the topics is about the role of government. (And Chris Dorobek will be live tweeting the debate on @CDorobek and using the hashtag #DebateGov. I hope you’ll join the conversation.)
DorobekINSIDER reader: What you need to know about presidential debates
- Washington Post’s Wonkbook: The number of presidential elections decided by debates? Zero. –
- PolitiFact: How to get the facts during the presidential debate
- Washington Post oped by John Donvan: How to turn Obama and Romney’s faceoff into a real debate –
- As we await tonight’s presidential debate, there is an amazing book about the seven Lincoln-Douglas debates in 1858 for the Illinois Senate seat — a race that Abraham Lincoln lost, by the way.
- National Journal: The Presidential debate drinking game.
It’s a time-honored tradition. Going back to probably the Lincoln-Douglas debates, wherever there have been podiums, candidates, and a moderator, there has been booze. And where there is booze, there must be structured competition. Here at National Journal, we have put together our best minds to come up with the definitive drinking-game rules for the first presidential debate tonight. Play at your own risk.
Cybersecurity: Keeping a watch out: In June, many Google users were surprised to see an unusual greeting at the top of their Gmail inbox, Google home page or Chrome browser. “Warning: We believe state-sponsored attackers may be attempting to compromise your account or computer.” On Tuesday, tens of thousands more Google users will begin to see that message. The company said that since it started alerting users to malicious — probably state-sponsored — activity on their computers in June, it has picked up thousands more instances of cyberattacks than it anticipated.
The SEVEN stories that impact your life
- Agency chief acquisition officers are not playing a big role in planning for sequestration or even future budget cuts. An exclusive Federal News Radio survey of federal CAOs and senior procurement executives found 57 percent of the respondents said they are not preparing for smaller budgets. The latest survey covered a range of topics from how contracting executives are preparing for budget cuts to the Mythbusters campaign to bid protests. You can see the full results here.
- Want to know how much your Congressman makes each year? The forms are now online. The Washington Post reports, financial disclosures of members of Congress became more readily available Monday as required by the Stock Act. Access to such forms filed by many senior career federal employees will remain restricted for at least two more months, however.
- The Food and Drug Administration says it cannot afford to implement a new food-safety law. Reuters reports the agency is struggling to comply with the Food Safety Modernization Act. Congress passed it two years ago. Now Commissioner Margaret Hamburg said the FDA will issue new regulations “very soon.” The law directs the agency to establish science-based safety standards for fruits and vegetables and imported food, among other things. Hamburg said it was a “broadly expansive” mandate. Speaking at a Washington conference, she called on industry to help finance the law.
- A Senate report has slammed Homeland Security fusion centers as wasteful and ineffective. Federal News Radio reports the two-year, bipartisan investigation finds the fusion centers often gather information on innocent Americans. The report says the nation’s 77 fusion centers don’t produce much usable intelligence. And it scores the Homeland Security Department for buying expensive gadgets ranging from shirt button cameras to SUVs used mainly for staff commuting. The fusion centers were launched after 9/11. They try to bring together federal, state and local law enforcement officials to share information. Homeland Security officials disagreed with the Senate report.
- The U.S. Postal Service is offering $15,000 buyouts to virtually all full-time clerks, mechanics, drivers and other career employees represented by the American Postal Workers Union. Federal Times says the buyouts, which are coupled with an early retirement package for longer-serving workers, will be paid in two installments: $10,000 on May 24 of next year; and $5,000 on May 23, 2014.
- Many military retirees will pay 17 percent more in annual TRICARE enrollment fees in fiscal 2013. Government Executive reports, the new rates, which took effect Oct. 1, increase the amount military retirees pay in health care fees by 3.6 percent or 17 percent, depending on when they enrolled in TRICARE Prime. Those who enrolled in the program before Oct. 1, 2011, will see the biggest hike; rates for beneficiaries enrolled after that date will increase more modestly because that group already has been paying more for health care.
- And on GovLoop, we want to know. What’s your biggest challenges. Send us your answers to [email protected].
A few items from the DorobekINSIDER water-cooler fodder
- Will sequestration happen? Some have labeled this Congress the ‘do nothing’ Congress. National Journal says seventy-nine percent of National Journal’s National Security Insiders believe that when Congress returns in mid-November, members will punt sequestration for a few months as hope wanes for a broader deal to avoid the sweeping $1.2 trillion in spending cuts over the next decade, roughly half from defense.
- What if, The New York Times Magazine delves into the ‘what if… Mitt Romney ran on, not away from, his Massachusetts health care reform: ”You almost never hear Romney staff members cast their candidate in such a manner. Maybe it’s because White’s distillation calls to mind a lifelong technocrat who does whatever works rather than a conservative leader who sticks to ‘what’s right.’ But it’s especially rare to hear the candidate or his operation refer to the period of his life when he actually did wrestle daily with both what works and what’s right on behalf of his constituents — the four years by which we can best judge what kind of president Mitt Romney might be. Drawing conclusions from his single term as Massachusetts’s chief executive is, obviously, a feat of extrapolation, because the issues that he faced as well as the powers that he wielded hardly measure up to those of the Oval Office. Still, those four years are telling, even more than the campaign’s decision not to talk about them.”