Service members and their domestic partners will have to sign a written declaration of their partnership in order to participate in the nearly two dozen benefits, which include child care, recreation programs, legal assistance, and compensation for dependents of members held captive.
State of the Union will be a weeklong affair; People expect the U.S. to have a Mars presence by 2033;
Federal agencies have four months to develop policies to address the impact of domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking in the workplace, including support plans for workers affected by such violence.
President Obama signed an executive order in 2009 that requires federal agencies to provide updated sustainability plans every year, and the agencies released their third annual plans Feb. 7. For the first time, they included separate plans for climate change (.pdf) adaptation.
This is the template of the modern State of the Union presidential speech: A laundry list of political objectives intertwined with stories of ordinary Americans so those watching can empathize with a call to action, a group of former presidential speech writers said on the morning of the annual address.
Statistics compiled by the Congressional Research Service show that 6,640 American service members died as a result of military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq since 2011.The number of American service members diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder or traumatic brain injury has continued to trend upward, albeit at a slower rate.
The Postal Service ended the first quarter of fiscal 2013 with a $1.3 billion loss and its Board of Governors called for the service to accelerate proposed cost cutting measures. Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe said the service will aggressively pursue cost cutting measures including a planned 5-day delivery schedule for mail, which he expects will save $2 billion annually.
The Defense Department failed to properly justify 75 percent of its 8(a) sole-source contracts worth more than $20 million from March 16, 2011 to March 31, 2012, says the Government Accountability Office.
The report finds that the 152-year old agency faces challenges in dealing with the decline of print and rise of digital publishing, including critical matters such as publishing formats, metadata, authentication, cataloging, dissemination, preservation, public access, and disposition. Publisher of both print and digital editions of the Congressional Record and Federal Register, the GPO also manages the Federal Depository Library Program and provides digital access to federal information through the Federal Digital System.
The administration asserts that automatic cuts to education will eliminate 70,000 young children from Head Start, put 10,000 teacher jobs at risk, and potentially result in slashing funding for up to 7,200 special education teachers, aides, and staff. The White House also warns that if a sequester takes effect, up to 2,100 fewer food inspections could occur, putting families at risk and costing billions in lost food production.
The Veterans Affairs Department has not fixed problems with scheduling follow-up medical exams for temporarily disabled veterans, costing the department millions of dollars each year, witnesses told the House Veterans' Affairs Committee. The department risks overpaying some veterans by $1.1 billion for the period of 2011 to 2016.
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.
Government fiscal reform needs to come in the form of accountability, prioritizing by need and training if long term success is to be seen, witnesses told the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. In a hearing Tuesday, witnesses outlined various waste and changes that could be made while offering different thoughts on sequestration-level cuts of roughly 10 to 15 percent.
According to the Center for Media and Democracy SourceWatch, the nonprofit IER is an arm of the American Energy Alliance, which advocates drilling for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and in U.S. coastal waters. The AEA also has a strong link to Koch Industries, the Kansas-based multinational run by Charles and David Koch, brothers who are strong supporters of right-wing causes.
The IRS is slowly improving how it hires and manages its workforce, a Treasury audit (.pdf) found, adding that without continued focus the agency could easily become overwhelmed by difficult new challenges.
The Small Business Administration will likely face significant staffing challenges in the event of another disaster like the 2005 Gulf Coast hurricanes because it cannot properly determine how much of its workforce would be available to respond, says the agency's inspector general.
The White House began accepting applications for the second round of the Presidential Innovation Fellows program Feb. 5. The fellowships, which last up to a year, bring in talent from the private sector to help the federal government innovate.
Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe says the Postal Service does not need Congressional approval to discontinue Saturday mail delivery and the 5-day delivery schedule will start in August 2013. Donahoe says package delivery services will stay on a 6-day schedule and post offices will remain open on Saturdays.
President Obama urged Congress Tueday to pass a small package of spending cuts and tax reforms that would head off the March 1 onset of sequestration and give more time to work out a long-term federal spending deal, although House Republicans quickly rejected any measure involving greater revenue collection.
The General Services Administration is seeking public comments on which green building certifications the federal government should use for new construction and modernization efforts. In a notice published Tuesday in the Federal Register, GSA announced a 60-day window for public comments on which certification systems "will be most likely to encourage a comprehensive and environmentally sound approach to the certification of green federal buildings."