Browsing: President Barack Obama

Obama: "In our democracy, government is us"

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President Obama delivered a commencement speech Saturday that turned into a passionate defense of the role of government in our society and, partially, the civil servants and military service members who make it run. His whole speech to the University of Michigan’s graduating class is worth reading, but here are some passages well-suited for Public Service Recognition Week: For when our government is spoken of as some menacing, threatening foreign entity, it conveniently ignores the fact in our democracy, government is us.  We, the people, hold in our hands the power to choose our leaders, change our laws, and shape our own…

First meeting of labor-management council next Friday

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The National Council on Federal Labor-Management Relations will hold its inaugural meeting next Friday, Feb. 26. The council will hear comments from federal agencies and members of the public on how agencies will create labor-management forums across the federal government, the Office of Personnel Management said in a Federal Register notice released this morning. OPM said agencies need to submit draft plans for implementing the forums by March 9. President Barack Obama created the council in a Dec. 9 executive order and ordered it to recreate the labor-management partnerships that operated under President Bill Clinton.

Obama: CIA bombing casualties "part of a long line of patriots"

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President Obama just issued the following statement regarding yesterday’s suicide bomb attack in Afghanistan’s Khost Province that killed seven CIA officers and at least one other person: To the men and women of the CIA: I write to mark a sad occasion in the history of the CIA and our country. Yesterday, seven Americans in Afghanistan gave their lives in service to their country. Michelle and I have their families, friends and colleagues in our thoughts and prayers. These brave Americans were part of a long line of patriots who have made great sacrifices for their fellow citizens, and for…

Obama again calls for 2.0 percent pay raise

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President Barack Obama today sent a letter to Congress reiterating his call for a 2.0 percent pay raise for federal employees in January. Obama said that the ailing economy, increasing demands on the federal government and the ongoing terrorist threat are straining the federal budget. And since the federal government’s attrition continues to be relatively low, Obama said it will be tough to justify a larger pay raise. The letter is something of a formality. In the unlikely event that Congress forgets to pass a federal pay raise, last year’s increase in the Employment Cost Index (which was 2.9 percent) would automatically become the…

White House doesn't back down from postal dig

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8/21 UPDATE: U.S. Postal Service spokesman Gerry McKiernan just dropped me a line disputing Peter Roff’s take on the post office’s tax exemption. First, the Postal Service doesn’t own any planes on which it could pay taxes. Secondly, the Postal Service for many years was not allowed to run profits as a corporation does, meaning it had no income on which it would pay taxes, even without the exemption. (A 2006 reform allowed the Postal Service to turn a profit on competitive products like Priority Mail and package services, but in lieu of taxes, the post office uses some of that…

Postal supervisors: Obama swipe "a kick to the chest"

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The National Association of Postal Supervisors has fired back at President Barack Obama for dragging the U.S. Postal Service further into the health care debate. In an Aug. 14 letter, NAPS President Ted Keating accused Obama of using the Postal Service as a “scapegoat” and unfairly painting it as “an example of inefficiency” during a health care town hall meeting last week. Obama told a crowd in Portsmouth, N.H., Aug. 11 that private health care insurance providers should be able to compete with a government-run public option because “UPS and FedEx are doing just fine. … It’s the Post Office…

Postal Service: Whipping boy of the health care debate

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As the debate over health care reform boils over, both sides are now using the U.S. Postal Service to score points. House Minority Leader John Boehner, June 11: If you like going to the DMV and think they do a great job, or you like going to the post office and think it’s the most efficient thing you’ve run into, then you’ll love the government-run health care system. And President Barack Obama at this afternoon’s health care town hall meeting in Portsmouth, N.H., as reported by the Associated Press: [Obama] also disputed the notion that adding a government-run insurance plan into a menu…

Obama signs tobacco bill containing TSP provisions

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President Barack Obama today signed the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, which contains several major overhauls to the government’s Thrift Savings Plan retirement program. The TSP overhaul will: Create a Roth option, which will allow TSP participants to pay taxes on money they invest in the program and make tax-free withdrawals in retirement years later. The Roth option is expected to mostly benefit military service members. Automatically enroll all new civilian federal employees in the TSP’s G Fund. Military service members will not be automatically enrolled. Allow new enrollees to receive automatic matching contributions from their agency right…

"Civilian surge" planned for Afghanistan

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The Washington Post says President Barack Obama is planning to deploy hundreds of diplomats and other federal employees to Afghanistan as part of a major effort to bolster reconstruction efforts in the war-torn country. The Post reports that aside from senior State Department diplomats, “other civilian officials are to be drawn from government departments such as Agriculture and Justice, and hundreds of new ‘full-time, temporary’ positions are planned” under a new strategy expected to be approved next week. During last year’s presidential campaign, Obama promised to refocus U.S. attention on Afghanistan, where the Taliban is regaining strength and Afghan president…

2010 Budget: Program cuts

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During a news briefing this morning at the Old Executive Office Building to roll out his 2010 budget, President Obama provided a little more detail about some of the nearly $2 trillion in proposed cuts he mentioned during his joint session to Congress on Tuesday. The highlights — or lowlights, depending on your view: Nearly $200 million at the Interior Department by cutting programs to clean up abandoned coal mines that have already been cleaned up. Nearly $20 million by modernizing programs and streamlining bureaucracy at the Agriculture Department. Tens of millions of dollars by cutting an Education Department student…

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