Members of the science research community took umbrage with proposed legislation that would force research to be in the national interest to receive a grant and give the National Science Foundation Director the power to affirm all grant awards, at a Nov. 13 House Science, Space and Technology subcommittee on research and technology hearing.
Slightly more than 106,000 individuals selected health insurance plans in the first month of implementation, but most came through state exchanges and not the troubled federal website, a Nov. 13 Health and Human Services report says.
The General Service Administration's inspector general found recurring and significant issues with how the agency awarded contracts in the National Capital Region between fiscal 2007 and 2012 due to flawed internal safeguards, a Nov. 7 GSA IG report says. The report (.pdf) doesn't contain much new information, but instead summarizes other GSA IG audits to lay out how big the problem has become.
The Health and Human Services Department Wednesday released a much-anticipated report (.pdf) on American enrollment into health insurance plans through the exchanges created by the Affordable Care Act.
Federal science grants would have to be "in the national interest"--and publicly justified as such--under a draft bill that the House Science, Space and Technology Committee is considering.
Federal employees don't think pay raises have anything to do with how well they perform their job tasks, a feeling that has been getting worse over the last three years, the 2013 Office of Personnel Management Viewpoint Survey says. Only 19 percent of federal employees say pay raises depend on how well employees perform their jobs. That number is down from 22 percent in 2012 and 24 percent in 2011, the survey says.
It can be difficult to connect sequestration to specific impacts at the Defense Department with so many other variables at play, the Government Accountability Office says. For the first half of fiscal 2013, before sequestration went into effect, DoD was operating under a continuing resolution, which already affected its budget authority and flexibility, the GAO notes in a Nov. 7 report.
Only about 17 percent of the federal workforce teleworks with any regularity, the Office of Personnel Management 2013 Viewpoint Survey says. About 3 percent of the workforce teleworks three days a week or more and about 9 percent work remotely one or two days per week, the survey says. About 4 percent telework 1 or 2 days per month and 10 percent occasionally work remotely on an unscheduled basis.
The effects of October's 16 day shutdown continue to ripple through the government as the Merit Systems Protection Board faces a mountain of furlough appeals it still needs to adjudicate and hundreds of federal employees sue the government for damages from not receiving pay on time during the shutdown.
The 16-day government shutdown in October cost the federal government about $2 billion in lost worker productivity, a Nov. 7 Office of Management and Budget. Federal employees were furloughed for a combined total of 6.6 million days, more than in any previous government shutdown. At its peak, about 850,000 individuals per day were furloughed, the report (.pdf) says.
Top military officers warned that sequestration would reduce manpower and cause higher U.S. casualty rates in a Nov. 7 Senate Armed Services Committee hearing. Through 2021, Defense Department sequestration cuts will total of $480 billion.
The Veterans Affairs Department reduced its disability claims backlog by 34 percent since March despite mandatory overtime being canceled during the recent government shutdown, a Nov. 7 department statement says. The VA reduced the number claims backlogged for more than a year by 93 percent since April, the statement says.
Federal worker satisfaction dropped for the third straight year, reaching its lowest point since 2008, the Office of Personnel Management 2013 Viewpoint Survey says. Only 59 percent of federal workers responded positively to questions about satisfaction with their job in the 2013 survey. That's down from 63 percent in 2012 and 66 percent in 2011.
The shutdown cost the federal government about $2 billion in lost worker productivity, Office of Management and Budget Director Sylvia Burwell said in a Nov. 6 call to reporters.
Without more clear and complete performance goals in the Defense Department's plan to reform the Military Health System, DoD won't be able to identify areas of risk to be monitored when implementing the new system, a Nov. 6 Government Accountability report says.
The National Science Foundation had enough flexibility in its fiscal 2013 budget to mitigate some of the cuts made due to sequestration, but going forward that will not be possible, said Kelvin Droegemeier, vice chairman of the National Science Board, during a Nov. 6 hearing.
President Obama directed agencies to make it easier for local jurisdictions to face the effects of climate change by directing them to scour their policies for barriers that discourage investments into national resilience or even increase the vulnerability of natural or man-made systems.
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius conceded to a Senate Panel Wednesday that the Affordable Care Act healthcare exchange enrollment numbers for the first month will be very low. The numbers have yet to be released, but Sebelius said they would be released next week and include both Medicaid and health plan numbers in the new exchanges. "We are still at the beginning of a six month open enrollment which ends at the end of March," she said. "And there's plenty of time to sign up for the new plan."