Browsing: Congress

Veterans Day moment of silence dropped from compromise National Defense Authorization Act

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When Congress decides to create a compromise bill for  sweeping legislation such as the National Defense Authorization Act, it stands to reason that some items will be left on the cutting room floor. But apparently a proclamation calling for a moment of silence for veterans on Veterans Day did not make it in to the final version of the bill, which passed the House Dec.4. The original version of the bill that the House passed May required the president to issue a proclamation each year calling for two minutes of silence on Veterans Day. The Senate version of the NDAA did not…

Poll: More than half of Americans feeling little or no impact from sequester

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For hundreds of thousands of federal employees, there’s been no escaping the effects of sequester-related budget cuts, either on their jobs, their paychecks or both. For the general public, though, not so much. In a national poll this month by NBC News and the Wall Street Journal, 55 percent of those surveyed said the cuts have had little or no impact on themselves and their families. There is another way to look at the results. As NBC News’ story notes, the percentage of respondents who said they’ve felt “a great deal” or “quite a bit” of impact stood at 22 percent, up from 16 percent in April. But with…

Obama pushes for Senate transportation bill with phased retirement

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President Obama today urged the House to pass the transportation bill the Senate approved last week. That bill, S 1813, contains a provision to allow older feds to phase into retirement — that is, work part-time while earning a partial pension — at the end of their careers. House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, on March 8 said he planned to bring the Senate’s bill up for a vote, instead of the troubled House transportation bill. But he may change course on that. Boehner is facing resistance to the Senate bill from members of his own party, and The Hill reports…

Social Security payments will go out on time

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Social Security payments scheduled for Wednesday will be disbursed on time, Social Security Administration Commissioner Michael Astrue announced Tuesday. Up until late last week, it wasn’t clear if lawmakers would strike a deal to increase the debt limit, causing concern for recipients of Social Security and VA benefits who probably would not have received payments. Payments set for Aug. 10, 17th and 24th will also go out on time.   “I am happy to announce there will be no delay in the payment of August Social Security benefits,” said Astrue, “which should be a relief to those people who were concerned about their…

Senators reject creation of new cybersecurity committee

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Sens. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., and Susan Collins, R-Maine, are calling on Senate leaders to reject a proposal that would create a temporary committee to draft cybersecurity legislation. In a joint letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Collins and Lieberman said the creation of a temporary committee “would be a real mistake and a waste of time,” according to the July 13 letter. In an earlier letter, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., proposed the creation of the Select Committee on Cyber Security and Electronic Intelligence Leaks to create legislation to protect critical infrastructure like…

Cybersecurity bill prohibits Internet "kill switch"

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Sens. Susan Collins, R-Maine, Joe Lieberman, ID-Conn., and Tom Carper, D-Del, introduced a cybersecurity bill Thursday that would prevent the president or any federal employee from shutting down the Internet. The 2011 Cybersecurity and Internet Freedom Act would amend the 2002 Federal Information Security Act and set limits on what the government can do to protect information infrastructure. “Our bill contains additional protections to explicitly prevent the president from shutting down the Internet,” Collins said in a released statement.  “While experts question whether anyone can technically ‘shut down’ the Internet in the United States, our bill has specific language making it crystal clear that…

Latest continuing resolution gets final approval

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Happy Friday! On a voice vote Thursday evening, the Senate passed a continuing spending resolution to keep the government in business through Dec. 18. The House had approved the resolution Wednesday. It will extend a similar measure that was set to expire Friday at midnight, so no government shutdown for at least another two weeks. Like its predecessor, this new resolution basically keeps spending at fiscal 2010 levels. Since Congress is not likely to finish up work on a dozen fiscal 2011 appropriations bills in the week before Christmas, there will probably be at least one more continuing resolution to push…

HP ranks Pelosi top Twitter influencer in Congress

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If you’re an advanced Tweeter, you’ve probably started the purging process and are now updating your account(s) to reflect changes in the House and Senate. If not, maybe this will help you get started. Or there’s always the unofficial list for the 112th Congress to make sure you don’t leave anyone out. Researchers at HP Labs have narrowed the list down to the 100 most influential members of Congress on Twitter based on an analysis of 22 million tweets. They developed an algorithm to identify “influential users,” who “not only catch the attention of their followers” but “also overcome their followers’ predisposition to remain passive,” Ethan…

A closer look at Hatch's proposed workforce cuts

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Last week, I untangled Sen. Orrin Hatch’s error-filled claims that the government has grown “at breakneck speed” under Obama. Today, let’s look a little further at what the Reduce and Cap the Federal Workforce Act seeks to accomplish — and whether it will actually have a noticeable effect on limiting the government’s size. The bill would require agencies (excluding the CIA, FBI, Secret Service and Executive Office of the President) to tell Congress how many employees they currently have, and how many they had as of Feb. 16, 2009. If any agencies except for the Defense and Homeland Security departments…

PSC still worried about defense insourcing

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Stan Soloway and Alan Chvotkin over at the Professional Services Council expressed their displeasure with Defense Department insourcing efforts in a May letter to Defense Secretary Robert Gates. Recent congressional attention to the issue hasn’t done much to assuage their concerns. In a conference call with reporters this morning to discuss the Senate and House versions of the 2011 defense authorization bill, Soloway and Chvotkin said PSC supports an amendment by Rep. Jim Langevin that would prohibit DoD from setting quotas for its insourcing efforts. However, two other amendments passed by the House seem to conflict with the Langevin amendment,…

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