The House Appropriations Committee approved the fiscal 2014 agriculture appropriations bill June 13 by a voice vote. The bill (.pdf) includes $19.5 billion in discretionary funding for programs related to food safety, nutrition, rural development and more. The committee said its funding was approximately equal to the current level after the sequestration cuts.
Newly confirmed Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz told Congress he wants to reorganize the Energy Department including more departmental oversight and better management of the National Labs. In a June 13 House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing on the Energy Department's fiscal 2014 budget, Moniz laid out ways to make the DOE more efficient.
Government programs lost significantly more money than private sector per billion dollars spent, survey says
Federal agencies lost over the past year $148 million for every billion dollars they spent due to ineffective program management, a Project Management Institute survey says.
The $638 billion National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal 2014 passed the House June 14 in a 315 to 108 vote. The House authorized $552.1 billion in overall spending for base national defense and an additional $85.8 billion in overseas contingency operations. The fiscal 2014 NDAA (H.R. 1960) is consistent with the House passed budget which took money from non-defense budget to allow more money for defense while keeping overall spending below the Budget Control Act cap, according to an NDAA committee fact sheet.
House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) took up his ongoing cause again this year: reforming the Postal Service.
The Drug Enforcement Administration must identify barriers to female agents moving up in the agency and lay out plans to eliminate them, an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission decision (.pdf) says in a decision for a class action complaint filed in 1993. The agency also has to provide retroactive promotions and back pay to female agents passed over for foreign postings between 1990 and 1992 along with $300,000 in compensatory damages for each plaintiff.
The House Appropriations Committee marked up the Defense Department spending bill June 12, blocking several amendments from Democrats. The $512.5 billion bill is $28 billion above defense spending caps set by sequestration and after markup remained free from any major changes from the bill passed June 6 by the House Appropriations subcommittee on defense. The bill also includes military construction and nuclear programs under the Energy Department.
If confirmed as the administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Howard Shelanski would continue the regulatory look-back process emphasized by his predecessor Cass Sunstein.
Though the suspension and debarment system has been around for many years, there is little guidance for it, Government Accountability Office Acting Director of Acquisition and Sourcing Management John Neumann said at a June 12 House Government and Oversight Committee hearing.
The Veterans Affairs Department is still on track to meet its goal of processing all claims within 125 days with 98 percent accuracy by the end of 2015, Director of Compensation and Pension Service Thomas Murphy told the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee in a June 12 hearing.
On the heels of a Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration report on excessive spending at a 2010 Internal Revenue Service conference, the Office of Management and Budget released guidance May 28 to help agency conference planners balance cost and mission needs.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has suffered without a Senate-confirmed leader since 2006, said B. Todd Jones, the ATF's acting director, as a Senate panel considered his nomination to be the director on a permanent basis.
The intelligence community's reliance on contractors has been called into question since The Guardian reported that Booz Allen employee Eric Snowden leaked information about a National Security Agency classified surveillance program. In a June 11 Defense Department budget hearing with the Senate Appropriations subcommittee on defense, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), asked how many contractors work on defense operations.
For the military to get back to an acceptable readiness level, Congress must stop sequestration cuts, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said while defending President Obama's fiscal 2014, $526.6 billion DoD budget request during a June 11 Senate Appropriations subcommittee on defense hearing.
Federal spending data systems have improved in recent years but still come up short in their efforts to fully inform the public on government spending, says a June 6 brief from the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
The Defense Department's preliminary cost estimate for its plan to relocate 9,000 Marines from of Okinawa, Japan,because it's missing costs and is based on limited data, a June 11 Government Accountability Office report says.
Davita Vance-Cooks is set to appear before the Senate Rules Committee June 12 as it considers her nomination to head the Government Printing Office.
The OIG came to that conclusion in the course of its inspection of an Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy senior official, whose three children all received internships at the department in 2012. Two officials who made the hiring decisions in question also said they believed it was common practice to advocate for internships for one's relatives, the OIG report (.pdf) says.
The federal workforce dropped in May by 14,000 employees and over the last three months, the number of federal workers fell by 45,000, a June 7 Bureau of Labor Statistics report says.