Articles by Julie Bird
Emergency measures to help the federal court system cope with sequestration are "unsustainable, difficult and painful to implement," a federal judge told a congressional committee Wednesday, and will seriously compromise court operations. Unlike other federal departments, the judiciary cannot cut programs or grants to manage the shortfall.
Officials testifying before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee had to have known they were in for a rough day Tuesday just based on title of the hearing: "DoD and DHS: Implementing Agency Watchdogs' Recommendations Could Save Taxpayers Billions."
The Office of Management and Budget issued guidance last week clarifying how agencies can comply with a new rule prohibiting office and warehouse expansions--known as "Freeze the Footprint."
Only 1.3 million square feet of the 2.4 million gross square feet of area at the J. Edgar Hoover headquarters building in Washington are usable, said Dorothy Robyn, commissioner of the GSA's Public Buildings Service. She spoke before the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee subcommittee on economic development, public buildings and emergency management.
Government scientists have gained more whistleblower protection and freedom to express personal opinions under the Obama administration, but most agencies still do not give scientists access to drafts and final revisions in which their work played a part, a study by the Union of Concerned Scientists found.
At least $8 billion was wasted in the U.S.-financed reconstruction of Iraq, or close to 15 percent of the $60 billion appropriated to the effort, according to the final report of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction.
Newly sworn-in Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel only briefly addressed looming sequestration cuts when he took to the Pentagon airways Wednesday to address Defense Department personnel. Hagel's press secretary, George Little, was more direct, calling the potential impact "devastating."
A check of 32 agencies found compliance with the standards and use of its best practices varied widely. Only 22 of the 32 agencies had an agency-level security manager, the GAO says, or had documented performance measures to evaluate security effectiveness and correct deficiencies. Even fewer – 13 – had a manager responsible for allocating resources based on risk assessment.
The U.S. will lose 3.1 million jobs, $2.4 trillion in consumer spending, $3.1 trillion in gross national product and $1.1 trillion in trade unless it invests another $1.57 billion per year in infrastructure, according to a report from the American Society of Civil Engineers.
President Obama nominated Recreational Equipment Inc.--better known as REI-- Chief Executive Officer Sally Jewell to replace Ken Salazar as interior secretary. Energy Secretary Steven Chu, a Nobel Prize-winning biophysicist, has also said he will leave the Energy Department after a successor is confirmed.