Browsing: Politics

Senate-passed bill would give Hatch Act some touching-up

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The Hatch Act would get some tweaking under a bill that won unanimous Senate approval last week. The bill would allow state and local government employees to run for partisan political office, for example, and the Merit Systems Protection Board would get more options for dealing with violations of the act, which generally bars federal civil servants from partisan politicking. Currently, the board’s only option is to fire offending feds unless its members unanimously agree to some lesser penalty. The bill, sponsored by Sen. Daniel Akaka, D-Hawaii, now goes to the House, where Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., has introduced similar…

Friday Fun: #eastwooding at the RNC

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Last night, Clint Eastwood was The Man With No Speech. The legendary actor and former mayor of Carmel, Calif., took the stage at the Republican National Convention shortly after 10 p.m. EST to warm the crowd up for Mitt Romney. What followed was a seemingly improvised, 12-minute address to an empty chair he pretended had an invisible Barack Obama. Apparently prompted by an enthusiastic crowd member, Eastwood finished his freewheeling speech by leading the crowd in his classic Dirty Harry line: “Go ahead, make my day.” (Which was the obvious Eastwood quote, of course. But I have to confess: I…

Former Gov. Kaine: Attacks on federal employees 'revolting'

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Former Democratic Virginia Gov. and current Senate candidate Tim Kaine on Wednesday pledged his support for federal workers at a town hall in Arlington. At the event — sponsored by the American Federation of Government Employees, National Treasury Employees Union, National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association and other groups from the Federal-Postal Coalition — Kaine said that waging war against public workers “is not a management model that works.” “You and I both know that some — for one reason or another — want to make public employees the all-purpose punching bag in American political life,” Kaine said. “That,…

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…

FEC averts talk about corporate political spend

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While a discussion about corporate disclosure of campaign contributions seems to already have occurred among politicians and transparency groups, the Federal Election Commission deadlocked once again on a vote to re-open public discussion of disclosure rules for political advertisements. These advertisements, called independent expenditures and electioneering communications, are used to support or oppose candidates, or publicize issues with the names or images of candidates. FEC Chair Cynthia Bauerly offered up a “draft notice of proposed rulemaking” at the June 15 commission meeting to re-open public comment on existing rules that require donations to outside groups to be disclosed only when…

Government's open (but don't dare celebrate)

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Warning: Killjoy alert! As you all know (because you’re probably reading this from your office instead of your home), Congress last week struck a deal to keep government operating for another two weeks. So here we are today, the first Monday into the new CR, and federal agencies are operating, citizens are getting their government services,  and feds are getting paid. What’s not to love about that? According to today’s excellent-but-depressing blog post by former Capitol Hill staffer and Wall Street consultant Peter Davis, plenty. Davis dissects the predicament we find ourselves in and concludes that the big-picture budget outlook…

Poll: Most favor higher fuel efficiency standards

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Most Americans favor higher government-imposed fuel-efficiency standards, according to a poll released last week. The survey of 1,000 likely voters showed 85 percent favor government requirements to increase fuel efficiency in cars and 78 percent favor government regulation reducing emissions from large trucks, SUVs and minivans. Respondents also support increased fuel efficiency standards even if the price of the car goes up by $3,000, with 66 percent still favoring the proposal and 28 percent opposed. The Environmental Protection Agency received a favorable response: 63 percent of respondents saw the agency favorably or very favorably. Environment America, the Natural Resources Defense…

"I work for the government and I am NOT the enemy"

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Federal Times this week examines the growing concern in the ranks of federal employees over the rising anti-government rancor among many Americans. Some people say agencies need to better educate Americans on the many seen and unseen services the government performs to generate a better appreciation for all it does. Others say the animosity is the result of an increasingly bitter and polarizing national debate fanned by politicians and extreme partisans in the media. Still others say federal employees deserve criticism for being incapable of managing many programs that make effective and efficient use of taxpayer dollars. What do you…

One man's bird crusade

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Mike Quigley is for the birds — literally. The first-term congressman introduced legislation Tuesday that would require bird-safe materials and design features be used to the maximum extent possible on all new and renovated buildings maintained by the General Services Administration. The bill is similar to legislation the Illinois Democrat championed in 2008 when he was on the Cook County Board of Commissioners. I am proud to build upon the work we did in Cook County to promote bird-safe building and spearhead an initiative at the national level that will make sure our tall buildings are not safety hazards. This bill…

EEOC nominees on secret hold

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A senator has placed a secret hold on the confirmation of a gay woman and other nominees to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, apparently in violation of a 2007 law that cracked down on such anonymous holds, Keen News Service reports. Many conservative groups have oppposed the nomination of Georgetown University law professor Chai Feldblum as an EEOC commissioner because she is gay. Nevertheless, Feldblum’s nomination was reported out of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee in December along with three other EEOC nominations, clearing the way for a vote by the full Senate. Since then, however, an unnamed senator has…

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