Browsing: Elijah Cummings

Postal board faces tough decision on five-day mail delivery

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The U.S. Postal Service’s board of governors is set to meet tomorrow, according to a spokesman, and a thorny choice will likely dominate the agenda: Let Postmaster General Pat Donahoe proceed with a previously announced plan to end Saturday mail delivery this August, with a projected savings of $2 billion annually. Or back off—at least for now—to avoid a probable lawsuit, not to mention antagonizing members of Congress whose help is needed to pass any long-haul fix for the Postal Service’s finances. Among some observers, the betting is that the board will opt for door number two. “That’s the strong…

Yet another sequester-related headache for agencies

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One of the great unknowns of sequestration is how many hours of federal agency staff time have been consumed by drafting, discussing and implementing the steps needed to handle the across-the-board spending cuts. And it’s not over yet. Under an April 1 deadline stemming from the continuing resolution approved last fall, more than three dozen agencies are supposed to give Congress updated operating plans that reflect the impact of the reductions for fiscal 2013. Inconveniently, however, lawmakers are still tinkering with a final version of  the FY13 budget, meaning that some agencies—the Defense Department in particular—may have to rewrite those…

Legislation tweaking Hatch Act goes to White House

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The Merit Systems Protection Board would be able to mete out a wider range of punishments for Hatch Act violators under a bill that won final congressional approval today and now goes to President Obama for his signature. Instead of firing violators–the only authorized penalty up to now unless the board unanimously opts for a different route–the MSPB  could issue formal reprimands; reduce violators’ pay grades; bar them from federal employment for up to five years; or fine them up to $1,000. Sen. Daniel Akaka, D-Hawaii, sponsored the bill in the Senate; Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., handled it in the…

Lawmakers eyeing Hatch Act changes

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Well, this could get interesting. Rep. Darrell Issa, the California Republican who chairs the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, is contemplating major changes to the Hatch Act, the law that generally bars federal employees from on-the-job partisan politicking. At a hearing this afternoon, Issa didn’t say what kind of alterations he believes are needed, but labeled the status quo “clear as mud.” In a brief interview afterward, he drew distinctions in how the law affects the president and vice president; Cabinet officers and political appointees; and the career federal workforce. All three layers, Issa said, could need “multiple rounds”…

Lawmakers to White House: About that reorganization . . .

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Well, chalk one up for congressional bipartisanship: Democrats and Republicans alike agree that lawmakers should have a say in the Obama administration’s government streamlining agenda. “Reorganization of the executive branch is a shared responsibility,” Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., and Sen. Joseph Lieberman, I-Conn., the respective chairs of the main House and Senate government oversight committees, said in a Friday letter to Jeffrey Zients, one of the White House management officials leading the effort. Issa and Lieberman go on to ask for “a tentative timeline for development and implementation of the reorganization proposal, as well as regular updates during the review.”…