The Senate Appropriations Committee has unveiled a $984 billion plan to fund the government for the rest of fiscal 2013 and avert a shutdown after March 27. The Senate proposal would amend the House CR by adding three full appropriations measures in the form of an Agriculture Department bill, Homeland Security Department bill and a bill with funding for Commerce, Justice, NASA and NSF.
"Ultimately, the administration will be judged on the transparency it delivered, not the transparency it envisioned or promised--and there is widespread agreement that the delivery has lagged," write report authors from the Center for Effective Government.
The whistleblower protection program at the Securities and Exchange Commission has timely operations for complaints and hotline calls, but it is too soon for the program to allow whistleblowers to file fraud lawsuits on behalf of the government, finds the SEC's office of inspector general.
Furloughs will force civilian employees out of work for up to 22 days with very few exceptions, said DoD Comptroller Robert Hale, who expects the action to hurt morale and productivity. Even agencies that are able to level spending with 5- or 10-day furlough periods would be subject to the longer, departmentwide period.
The Justice Department doesn't meet the statutory goal of completing at least 90 percent of its contractor security clearances within 60 days--mostly due to lengthy processing times at the FBI, says the DOJ office of inspector general.
The Agriculture Department has not found a way to meet the requirements of sequestration and avoid furloughing meat inspectors, said Agriculture Secretary Thomas Vilsack.
Reviews conducted by the Defense Contract Audit Agency continually failed to meet established professional standards in fiscal 2010, says the Defense Department's inspector general.
The Senate Judiciary Committee March 7 approved a new anti-gun trafficking measure, making it the first gun measure to be considered before the full Senate since the Dec. 14 shooting that killed 26 people in Newtown, Conn.
The General Services Administration still permits vendors that provide inaccurate commercial sales data and supply unqualified labor to remain on schedules contract vehicles, says the agency's inspector general.
The Postal Service has the authority to adopt its proposed new delivery schedule even if the next continuing resolution doesn't provide specific language allowing it, says Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.
Federal agencies are working to finalize sequestration-related cuts and to explain reductions, furloughs and exemptions to their employees, employee unions and contractors.
The House approved Wednesday a continuing resolution that would fund the government through the rest of fiscal 2013 and would increase Defense Department readiness spending by roughly $10 million. The bill topline would keep overall discretionary spending at the sequestration amount of $982 billion.
Four federal agencies and the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation have published an action plan to improve the protection of sites held as sacred by American Indians and Alaska Natives, and provide greater tribal access to these sites.
The reported number of times aircraft did not maintain a safe minimum distance from each other in the air, called a loss of standard separation, rose 50 percent between fiscal 2009 and 2010 and remains a major air safety concern, says the Transportation Department's office of inspector general.
At least $8 billion was wasted in the U.S.-financed reconstruction of Iraq, or close to 15 percent of the $60 billion appropriated to the effort, according to the final report of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction.
An unexpected surge in federal retirement claims in February has dealt a setback to the Office of Personnel Management's efforts to reduce its claims backlog. OPM received about 20,000 retirement claims in February, more than three times the amount it projected.
A hearing on the savings that could come from inspector general recommendations quickly dissolved into concerns over sequestration, both its impact on agencies in general and for their IG offices. Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) said the problem is significant because he sees no scenario where IG reductions help save money. "When you're making budget cuts and looking to find waste, you don't layoff the people that find waste for you," said.
Royal Dutch Shell has said it will not drill in the Arctic Ocean off the coast of Alaska for the rest of 2013, where it has had problems such as weather-related damage of its Kulluk drilling barge. The announcement came just a few weeks before the Interior Department is scheduled to complete a review of Shell's Arctic operations in 2012 in the Beaufort and Chukchi seas.
The Navy says it will immediately start taking cost-savings measures, such as layoffs, furloughs and deferred maintenance and deployments, now that sequestration has become law. The service says "these actions are being taken to preserve support for those forces stationed overseas and currently forward-deployed. Reductions in lower-priority forward operations and significant reductions in all other operations, training and maintenance are the results of this selection process."