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."
If current law holds, the CBO says the 2013 deficit would be $845 billion. But some major decisions--whether to let sequestration go into effect in early March, whether to shut down the government when the continuing resolution expires weeks later, and whether to raise the debt limit--could thwart that projection.
Pew's average of polls last found public trust in government in excess of 50 percent for a brief time after September 11, 2001. Other than that, Pew says a majority has not trusted government since before President Richard Nixon resigned, and currently only about a quarter of Americans do.
Reservists who complete 20 years of service must wait until age 60 to draw their retirement benefits, but active servicemembers draw their benefits whenever they retire. Reformers have long tried to reduce that inequality, and Rand looked at three possible ways to do so for a recent report.
The federal government could get a better value for purchased goods and services by increasing its use strategic sourcing and sharing related data, says Joe Jordan, administrator of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy. Eventually, said Jordan, strategic sourcing could be used for $150 billion of the more than $500 billion the government annually spends on goods and services.
Partisanship within Congress has raised the stakes for Supreme Court statutory law rulings, since bipartisan legislative overrides of Supreme Court interpretations have greatly diminished and partisan overriding is much rarer, argues a paper from University of California-Irvine law professor Richard Hasen.
The Postal Service would be better poised for a long-term sustainable financial future if it increases revenue through improving logistical support for international small business commerce and cuts expenses by going green, say the service and its inspector general. It saved more than $52 million in 2012 through reduced consumption of energy, water, fuel and other resources.
Airline industry opposition is delaying Federal Aviation Administration from issuing guidance and training for safety measures and pilot hiring practices, say auditors at the Transportation Department's inspector general, with some of the resultant risks falling more heavily on smaller carriers.
The House and Senate have passed a bill to ignore enforcement of the debt ceiling through May 18. In a Friday press briefing, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said he is sure that the president will sign the bill but does not know the exact date.
The quadrennial defense review is a poor way to develop Defense Department strategy because of its one-size-fits-all approach and necessarily watered-down language, said panelists at a Center for Strategic and International Studies conference on the upcoming 2014 QDR. "I can't think of a worse way of making good strategy," said panelist Jim Thomas of the CSBA.
The Office of Management and Budget has proposed consolidating the process that awards more than $600 billion annually in federal grants and financial assistance.The regulations combine some paperwork and application processes and propose some timeframe changes, such as allowing indirect costs awards to extend negotiated rates for up to 4 years, "subject to the approval of the indirect cost cognizant agency."
Robert Petzel, the under secretary for health at the VA, says (.pdf) the agency has developed a taskforce that will provide recommendations for innovating mental health care services and training in suicide prevention techniques. The taskforce will provide Petzel with "a full report with identification strategies and patient-centered focused health care options" by March 1.
Despite stark areas of disagreement on the need for additional gun control, Republican senators on Wednesday told their Democrat colleagues that there exists common support for strengthening background checks and making gun trafficking a federal offense.
The Internal Revenue Service has managed to cut its overall timetable for filling vacancies, say auditors, but the agency's hiring process still isn't setting any speed records. In highlighting a success story, for example, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration notes in a recently released Nov. 27 report (.pdf) that the IRS's information technology division now gets new employees on board in an average of 90 days.
An office designed to advocate for the protection of small businesses has routinely worked against health and safety regulations despite lacking the relevant scientific expertise or a clear benefit for small businesses, say two reports. The reports ask Congress to change Advocacy's goal to promote competitiveness instead of reducing regulatory impacts.
Nearly two-thirds of services from the Broadcasting Board of Governors that produce specific language and regional content overlap with other BBG programs that service the same countries in the same languages, says the government accountability office. The report found that 23 instances of overlap involving 43 of BBG's 69 services and says "almost all overlapping services also broadcast on the same platform," typically radio or television.