Browsing: 2012 Budget

Postal Service woes could undermine federal workers' comp fund

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What happens at the U.S. Postal Service doesn’t necessarily stay at the Postal Service. The latest example: A federal workers’ compensation fund could run out of money within three months if the cash-strapped mail carrier skips a $1.2 billion payment due in mid-October, according to the Labor Department. The department runs the fund under the Federal Employees’ Compensation Act. Should the Postal Service miss the October “chargeback” for past claims, officials estimate that the program would have no money to pay any benefits during the last four months of fiscal 2012, running from next June through September, according to a…

Over and over again: The debt limit story

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The debt limit deal is in the Senate, and President Obama is expected to sign it. Which means all this debt limit craziness is over … right? Here is Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-K.Y.) on Fox News with Neil Cavuto. (My own emphasis has been added). MCCONNELL: It set the template for the future. In the future, Neil, no president — in the near future, maybe in the distant future — is going to be able to get the debt ceiling increased without a re-ignition of the same discussion of how do we cut spending and get America headed…

The latest on e-gov funding

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The electronic government funding saga continues, even if the e-government fund would no longer exist under a spending bill approved today by a House appropriations subcommittee. As tech-conscious readers might remember, Congress whacked the e-gov account from $34 million in 2010 to $8 million in the year-long continuing resolution enacted this April. Under a fiscal 2012 spending bill approved today by the subcommittee, the fund would be folded into the General Services Administration’s Office of Citizen Services, said Daniel Schuman, policy counsel for the Sunlight Foundation, an open government group that has been birddogging the issue. In all, the combined…

USPS pension puzzle (revisited)

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Attentive (and we mean really attentive) Fedline readers might remember a post from last month about the apparent disconnect of the Office of Personnel Management’s charging the U.S. Postal Service more for its current pension contributions at the same time the Obama administration is proposing a big refund to the Postal Service on past contributions. We’d asked OPM for comment and finally received an answer yesterday.  So, in the interest of thoroughness, we’re rerunning the original Feb. 22 post, with  the OPM response appended verbatim. Here’s an intriguing nugget from the U.S. Postal Service’s latest quarterly report: Even as the Obama…

Shutdown planning, then and now

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With much of the government at risk of a forced vacation next month, there are some obvious parallels with the last such showdown, which resulted in back-to-back closures in late 1995 and early 1996. A bitter battle over spending; a Democratic president pitted against Republican lawmakers, many of them freshmen itching to shrink the federal footprint. The last time around, though, executive branch preparations appear to have started a lot sooner. Consider some evidence gleaned from congressional testimony: On August 22, 1995—almost three full months before the first shutdown occurred that November–then-Office of Management and Budget Director Alice Rivlin told all department…

USPS pension puzzle

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Here’s an intriguing nugget from the U.S. Postal Service’s latest quarterly report: Even as the Obama administration agrees that the Postal Service is owed a huge refund on past payments to its pension program, the Office of Personnel Management—headed by Obama appointee John Berry—is requiring it to shell out more for current payments. For the first quarter of fiscal 2011, the Postal Service’s contributions to the Federal Employees Retirement System, or FERS, rose by $24 million—from $1,469 million to $1.493 million—versus the same period in fiscal 2010, even though the USPS workforce continued to shrink, the report says. The reason,…

Missing from budget request: Agency performance info

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Last February, the Obama administration used its fiscal 2011 budget request to roll out more than 120 “high-priority performance goals” for federal agencies to meet. Twelve months later, how are all those agencies doing? You won’t find out from the White House’s FY12 request. “Significant progress has been made on some priority goals, while weaknesses have been identified and are being addressed in others,” the document says. It then cites a couple of the cheerier examples—such as the Energy Department’s weatherizing 295,000 homes—but with no context and few details. The agency-by-agency list of goals posted on the White House web…

White House outlines federal cloud adoption strategy

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Federal agencies are modifying their information technology portfolios to align with strategies released by the White House for government-wide adoption of cloud solutions. The Federal Cloud Computing Strategy, released Friday on cio.gov,  provides a framework for migrating to the cloud, redefining contracts with cloud vendors and addressing security and governance concerns. There are also case studies highlighting the agencies’ cloud adoption process. When selecting services to move to the cloud, agencies should consider the benefits (efficiency, agility and need for improvements through innovation) and how soon the service can move to the cloud (near-term, medium-term and long-term movers), according to…

White House coy Sunday in response to GOP budget cut plan

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The Obama administration responded Sunday to House Republicans’ plan for slashing more than $60 billion in federal  discretionary spending during the remainder of this fiscal year. Sort of. “We look forward to working with Congress,” Office of Management and Budget Director Jack Lew said on CNN’s “State of the Union” talk show. That was all that host Candy Crowley could get out of Lew, despite prodding him several times for a substantive answer. In the bill released Friday night, the House GOP proposed whacking hundreds of agencies and programs to the tune of $69 billion in comparison to last year’s…

OMB to announce cuts for IT projects

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The Office of Management and Budget says hundreds of millions of dollars in budget reductions are expected to come from the restructuring or cancelation of selected financial system modernization projects. OMB acting director Jeffrey Zients and controller Danny Werfel will announce today the fate of financial system modernization projects that were halted for review last month.   In August, a total of 26 IT projects were identified as “high risk” and subjected to a thorough review before moving forward. Improvement plans are being developed, and they should include details of projects risks, new contractor performance metrics and more rigorous project…