"When the states have skin in the game...we're seeing much better-run service, we're seeing new innovations, new ideas, and we're seeing better integration of passenger rail" with the rest of the transportation network, said Robert Puentes, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution.
Federal efforts to quickly ramp up implementation of the Affordable Care Act have been effective, and claims of state pushback have been overblown, panelists said at a May 20 Brookings Institution event .
The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program hasn't evolved with changing state programs and there isn't enough information to understand how that has impacted the families needing assistance from the program, a May 15 Government Accountability Office report (.pdf) says.
The Interior Department must focus on advancing Indian student education and building upon renewable energy project success on reservations, Interior Secretary Sally Jewell told the Senate Indian Affairs Committee at a May 15 hearing . Only 52 percent of students at Bureau of Indian Education schools graduate as opposed to 76 percent in non-BIE public schools, said Chairwoman Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) at the hearing.
The Veterans Affairs Department announced it would mandate overtime for claims processors at its 56 regional offices as a way to reduce the backlog of VA disability claims. The mandate will be implemented through the end of fiscal 2013, a May 15 VA statement said.
The Senate confirmed Ernest Moniz as energy secretary on May 16 by a 97-0 vote. Moniz, previously a physics professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, was nominated in March to replace Steven Chu, also a former physics professor.
Acting Internal Revenue Service Commissioner Steven Miller resigned Wednesday night, President Obama said that same day, after a Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration report showed the IRS used inappropriate criteria to select tea party organizations for tax-exempt status review.
Jenny Yang was sworn in as a member of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission May 13, returning it to its full complement of five commissioners after a year-long vacancy.
"That competition and conflict are about people is hardly a revelation. Nevertheless, this fundamental premise often has not received the central emphasis that it should in U.S. military deliberation," says the white paper, released May 13 and signed by Army Chief of Staff Gen. Raymond Odierno, Marine Corps Commandant Gen. James Amos and Navy Adm. William McRaven, head of Special Operations Command.
The Veterans Affairs Department objects to legislation that would require it to have at least one full-service VA medical center in each of the 48 contiguous states because the VA has its own cost effective way of determining where hospitals should be located, VA Undersecretary for Health Robert L. Jesse said in a May 9 Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee hearing .