Articles by Geoff Whiting
This week the Senate Budget Committee began the process of reviewing and potentially approving a budget plan that could eventually end up being its first in four years. The committee is expected to vote Thursday on what it calls the Concurrent Resolution on the Budget for Fiscal Year 2014.
Uncertainty in the federal governments budgeting process and temporary stopgap measures prevent agencies from planning for the fiscal year and wastes the time of federal employees while lowering their morale, witnesses said at a congressional hiring on the impact of crisis budgeting.
The National Park Service says sequestation will impact every aspect of its operations and cause the agency to leave 900 vacant positions unfilled and furlough some U.S. Park Police employees. FAA has now warned contractors that sequestration may delay, change or cancel work.
The update, posted by the Office of Management and Budget March 12 on performance.gov, shows mixed results in those cross-agency goals and provides information on 103 agency-specific priority goals.
Employee furloughs are anticipated as part of the sequestration response plan for the Labor Department and the Department of Housing and Urban Development, but HUD also plans to halt operations on the days employees are furloughed.
Unused federal courthouse space costs the government more than $51 million in maintenance and operations each year, finds the Government Accountability Office. The watchdog also reports that $835 million was spent from 2000 to 2010 to build unnecessary courthouse space.
Federal courts will end up furloughing or laying off staff and delaying cases and the appointment of federal public defenders to meet budget cuts required under sequestration. The Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts says sequestration could cause civil jury trials to be suspended for six weeks.
The Senate Appropriations Committee has unveiled a $984 billion plan to fund the government for the rest of fiscal 2013 and avert a shutdown after March 27. The Senate proposal would amend the House CR by adding three full appropriations measures in the form of an Agriculture Department bill, Homeland Security Department bill and a bill with funding for Commerce, Justice, NASA and NSF.
The whistleblower protection program at the Securities and Exchange Commission has timely operations for complaints and hotline calls, but it is too soon for the program to allow whistleblowers to file fraud lawsuits on behalf of the government, finds the SEC's office of inspector general.
The Agriculture Department has not found a way to meet the requirements of sequestration and avoid furloughing meat inspectors, said Agriculture Secretary Thomas Vilsack.