The assessment tool the Defense and Veterans Affairs departments use to assess cognitive function after a head injury, the Automated Neuropsychological Assessment Metric, lacks clear scientific evidence supporting its effectiveness, says a report from an Institute of Medicine task force.
Federal prison employees won't be furloughed, but other agencies are examining how the latest continuing resolution will affect their employees.The Defense Department pushed back furloughs due to the new CR and will reevaluate whether it needs to furlough any of its 800,000 civilian employees by April 5.
The Forest Service doesn't require oil and gas companies that drill in national forests to provide spill plans because it says doing so would duplicate other federal requirements--but a report from the Agriculture Department office of inspector general says the Forest Service isn't taking enough responsibility.
DOE relying too heavily on contractors, independent oversight needed for large projects, DOE aquisition director says
The Energy Department has relied too heavily on its architecture and engineering contractors and started projects before construction was properly planned, causing project costs to spiral out of control, DOE Director Acquisition and Project Management Paul Bosco said in a March 22 House Appropriations subcommittee hearing.
The 2020 Census may cost billions of dollars less than anticipated if the Census Bureau can reduce its labor-intensive door-to-door canvassing and take more information from national records, a new report from the Government Accountability Office says.
While the continuing resolution upholds the $85 billion in sequestration cuts across the board, funds were moved around within departments, something that agencies can't do on their own.
The Senate approved a $3.7 trillion budget for the coming fiscal year March 23, its first in 4 years, days after it voted to reject a budget champtioned by House Budget Committee Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.).
If Congress does not fully-fund NIST, Ross Corotis, a member of NRC's laboratory assessments board, recommends the agency avoid an across-the-board cut to all programs as that approach would impact quality. Rather, NIST should prioritize what areas it wants to focus on. "They should cut out some things rather than trying to continue doing all they're doing," he said.
In its legislation, Congress references a provision that has been included in every spending bill since 1983 that requires USPS to make deliveries 6 days a week if the agency wants the $90 million appropriation.
Just to keep up with the surge in gun purchases since the Sandy Hook shooting in Newtown, Conn. last December, the FBI's background check workforce has grown from about 300 to 500 examiners, Mueller told the House Appropriations subcommittee on commerce, justice, science and related agencies.
House Oversight and Government Reform Committee passed bills March 20 that would allow the Government Accountability Office to access federal agency information and make popular Freedom of Information Act requests more available.
The Veterans Affairs Department has nearly 900,000 pending disability claims, more than 70 percent of which have been pending for more than 125 days, according March 20 testimony before a House Committee. Still, Allison Hickey, under secretary for benefits at VA, said the Veterans Benefits Administration is actually making progress. "VBA employees are completing more compensation claims than ever before in the history of VA," she said.
The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee approved three bills March 20 that would affect federal employees and contractors as well as government spending on unused buildings.
The House and Senate both approved a 6 month funding bill (H.R. 933) with only days left before the federal government is set to run out of money. The bill does not overturn sequestration and funding continues at those levels, a 7.8 percent cut in defense spending and an approximately 5 percent cut in discretionary domestic spending, for a total of $85 billion.
Emergency measures to help the federal court system cope with sequestration are "unsustainable, difficult and painful to implement," a federal judge told a congressional committee Wednesday, and will seriously compromise court operations. Unlike other federal departments, the judiciary cannot cut programs or grants to manage the shortfall.
The Senate Banking Committee approved President Obama's nominations to lead the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the Securities and Exchange Commission on March 19. To replace Hilda Solis as labor secretary, Obama nominated Thomas Perez on March 18. Perez currently leads the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division.
New fees, taxes, or novel ideas such as hosting music festivals could help sustain national parks while their federal funding declines, a new paper from the Bipartisan Policy Center says. The paper includes more than a dozen proposals to help fund national parks.
In the past year, GSA canceled 39 conferences, avoiding more than $10 million in associated costs, he said. "I'm worried, though, that we're going to lose a year of training," he added, because the agency canceled useful conferences where GSA employees would have gone to update their skills and knowledge.
Agencies have to make across the board cuts, but can petition Congress to reallocate funds and reprogram cuts. "Agency after agency acts surprised that a law signed by the president 19 months ago actually meant what it said," said Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.). "You didn't plan in hopes that sequestration wouldn't happen."