Browsing: 2009 Budget

Golf lands another fed in the rough

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The linguistic origins of the word “golf” are lost to time. But for 21st century feds, the game often just means trouble. The latest evidence: Stephen Calvery, head of the Defense Force Protection Agency, gets an unfavorable write-up by the Defense Department’s inspector general for giving employees administrative leave to participate in the agency’s 2009 and 2010 golf tournaments. Under the rules, such leave is allowable only if it benefits the agency’s mission, furthers a particular DoD function or has “a government-wide recognized and sanctioned purpose,” according to a redacted copy of the report posted today on the IG’s website.…

Senate rejects amendments, passes omnibus

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The Senate voted Tuesday evening to approve a $410 billion spending omnibus bill to fund the federal government through the end of the current fiscal year. The Senate voted 62-35 to invoke cloture on the bill, HR 1105, ending debate on a series of amendments. The omnibus was approved by a voice vote. Republicans had proposed a series of amendments, and Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., allowed several to go to the floor for debate, hoping a few Republicans would then decide to cross party lines vote for the bill. No amendments were approved, including one that would have repealed…

Senate will vote on another CR

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The Senate will pass a short-term spending measure, keeping the government funded through midnight March 10, while it struggles to reach a compromise on a $410 billion omnibus spending bill. The stop-gap bill will keep agencies funded through midnight March 10. The omnibus would provide funding for all but three agencies that have been operating under a continuing resolution since Oct. 1. That continuing resolution expires Friday. Defense, Homeland Security and Veterans Affairs departments did have their appropriations bills passed in time. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said he is one vote short of the 60 votes needed to invoke…

Pass omnibus or extend the CR?

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The cat-and-mouse political games continue on the Hill Tuesday as Senate leaders debate whether to pass a fiscal year 2009 omnibus to fund the majority of federal agencies. Democrats beefed up the bill almost 9 percent above former President George W. Bush’s recommendations, saying the money would benefit agencies who had been neglected and provide a boost to build on funding awarded about a month ago in the economic stimulus package. But Republicans have decried the omnibus and stimulus bills as wasteful spending, with some talking about passing a short-term continuing resolution to replace the one that expires Friday. Senate…

Reid "confident" omnibus will pass this week

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Senate Minority leader Mitch McConnell wants Congress to delay passing the $410 billion fiscal year 2009 appropriations omnibus. Speaking on the Senate floor Monday afternoon, McConnell said people need time to analyze how much money the government is spending in light of the $780 billion economic stimulus bill signed into law a few weeks ago. There’s no reason for the Senate or the American people to feel an unnecessary rush, especially with a bill of this magnitude.” McConnell, R-Ky., said Congress should pass another short-term continuing resolution to give more time to analyze the spending omnibus. All federal agencies except…

House passes appropriations omnibus

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The House of Representatives voted 245-178 to pass a $410 billion appropriations omnibus to fund the federal government through the end of the current fiscal year. The federal government — except for the Defense, Homeland Security and Veterans Affairs departments — have been operating under a continuing resolution since the beginning of the fiscal year. The CR is set to expire March 6, but it could be extended should the Senate not vote in time. The Senate may take up debate on the bill, HR 1105, this week, but it has not yet scheduled a vote.

Congress could throw out outsourcing

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A provision in the omnibus spending bill could halt public-private job competitions for federal work. The provision introduced by Sen. Richard Durbin, D-Ill., and Rep. Jose Serrano, D-N.Y., would temporarily suspended public-private competitions for federal employees’ jobs conducted under Office of Management and Budget Circular A-76. Other bill provisions indroduced by the lawmakers would: Require agencies insource work currently performed by contractors and to allow federal employees to perform new work. Require agencies determine the size of their contractor workforces. Prevent agencies from outsourcing functions performed by 10 or fewer employees without holding a competition. The American Federation of Government…

Grapes + tourists = jobs?

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Apparently the grape is the key to economic recovery for western New York. That’s according to a news release from the office of Sen. Charles Schumer, who has pledged to fight for federal funding for the Grape Heritage Discovery Center in Westfield, N.Y. The release states that the center would promote wine tourism in New York and showcase Chautauqua County’s grape and wine industry, creating jobs through increased tourism. It will be patterned after the Wisconsin Cranberry Discovery Center, which the release says attracts tens of thousands of visitors a year. Schumer, a Democrat, said he’ll push for funding through…

Big government spending, but small increases for agencies

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I’m at an event on economic stimulus and financial regulation sponsored by the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget. The group is projecting a staggering $1 trillion deficit for fiscal year 2009, driven largely by the cost of reviving the slumping economy: bailouts for financial firms, diminished tax returns and an economic stimulus package. The irony is that, while government spending as a whole is skyrocketing, individual agency budgets may not see that much of an increase. That’s because much of the new spending is either handed out directly in a stimulus package — to states, businesses and taxpayers —…

Lieberman's fate? He's not telling

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So is Sen. Joe Lieberman losing his Senate Government Oversight Committee chairmanship? If he knows, he’s not saying. Lieberman, I-Conn., called a news conference this afternoon. Many reporters were hoping he’d reveal his future in the Senate. After Lieberman campaigned heavily for Sen. John McCain , R-Ariz., many expected Lieberman to lose his chairmanship of the committee. Lieberman has caucused with Democrats as a senator. Sen . (Harry) Reid (D-Nev.) and I have just concluded what I could call a very good conversation between two colleagues and friends. I want to spend some time in the next few days thinking…

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