Federal chief financial officers say declining resources and departing staff keep them from meeting an increased workload, a recently released Association of Government Accountants survey says. In the survey (.pdf), 28 percent of respondents say delivering services at the same rate that they are currently will be their biggest challenge. And over the next five years that challenge will get more difficult.
Nine days into the government shutdown, President Obama reached out to Congress to meet Wednesday about a temporary spending bill and the looming debt limit. Meanwhile, public confidence in the economy has dropped during the last week of the shutdown to its lowest level since the 2008 financial crisis, an Oct. 8 Gallup poll says.
Markets have already begun to suffer the apparent effects of the standoff among lawmakers over whether to raise the debt ceiling. On Oct. 8, the interest rate on 1-month Treasury bills reached 0.27 percent, a level not seen since November 2008 in the depths of a financial crisis that led to a global recession.
Children who had deployed parents experienced more problems in school and conflicts with families and peers than the national average and the longer the parent was deployed, the bigger the impact on the child, said Ron Haskins, Senior Fellow and Co-Director of Center on Children and Families at the Brookings Institution, at an Oct. 1 event.
The Federal Employee Retroactive Pay Fairness Act (H.R. 3223) applies to employees furloughed as a result of the government shutdown, so it wouldn't affect those who may be furloughed due to sequestration. Federal workers would receive their back pay after the shutdown ends. The bill does not cover contractors.
The Supreme Court heard arguments Tuesday over a case that could strike down limits on how much an individual can donate to a federal political candidate. The case was brought by Shaun McCutcheon, an Alabama businessman, and the Republican National Committee, on free speech grounds.
The way the Defense Department estimates the cost of switching from contractors to government employees has come under new criticism from the Government Accountability Office. Whether government employees or private contractors ultimately cost the government less has long been a subject of debate, and past attempts to settle the matter have faced scrutiny for flaws in their methods and assumptions.
House Republicans want to form a bipartisan special committee to work out a deal on the debt ceiling and a temporary spending bill, but Democrats shun the idea, saying that talks cannot start under the threat of a federal default. They also say a majority within the House--mostly Democrats and enough Republicans--supports passage of a bill that would re-open the entire federal government on a temporary basis.
About 7,000 Veterans Benefits Administration workers were furloughed Oct. 8, leaving VBA regional offices closed, VA Spokeswoman Victoria Dillon said. While regional offices won't be open, most toll-free numbers will still be available to veterans seeking information about their benefits.
"Management has been allowed to harass, intimidate, oppress, stalk, discipline, ostracize, monitor and make my life as miserable as possible for the last 7 years," said Sarah Carver, a senior case technician at the SSA's regional Office of Disability Adjudication and Review in Huntington, W.V., before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.
Senior agency executives don't often rely on information from Congress or the White House when making difficult decisions, but rather rely heavily on resources within their own agencies, a Sept. 26 Booz Allen Hamilton report says.
The Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs doesn't need legislation to reform the way it reviews regulations, OIRA Administrator Howard Shelanski told the House Judiciary Committee subcommittee on regulatory reform, commercial and antitrust law in a Sept. 30 hearing. "We've got a good set of executive orders that set forward I think the right analytic principles and the right regulatory process for reviewing rules," Shelanski told the panel.
Many political observers predict the government shutdown will continue until the separate debt ceiling crisis is resolved, meaning the government is unlikely to open until Oct. 18. As the government continues into day 7 of the shutdown over a temprorary spending bill to fund the government, House Republicans and aren't budging from tying the bill to additional concessions from Democrats, although it remains unclear exactly what they could be, given Obama's insistence that he will not undermine the Affordable Care Act.
The Defense Department will recall most of its civilian workforce that was furloughed due to the government shutdown, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said in an Oct. 5 statement. Hagel gained authority through a recent law that allows him to pay civilian personnel who provide support to the Armed Forces, he said.
Until it receives appropriations for fiscal 2014, the General Services Administration won't pay any utility bills whose meter-read end date falls on Oct. 1 or later.
Two Postal Regulatory Commission nominees called for Congress to adopt legislation that would reform the way the Postal Service provides healthcare to retirees, during an Oct. 2 Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee confirmation hearing.
If Congress fails to raise the $16.7 trillion debt ceiling limit, causing the government to default on its obligations, there would be severe economic repercussions, says the Treasury Department. "In the event that a debt limit impasse were to lead to a default, it could have a catastrophic effect on not just financial markets but also on job creation, consumer spending and economic growth," says the department in a report published Oct. 3
As the government continues through a third day of shutdown, there has been no movement toward a continuing resolution, even after a Wednesday night meeting between President Obama and congressional leaders. Obama reasserted his position that he will not negotiate on either the continuing resolution or the debt ceiling.