Browsing: Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs committee

Cobert's confirmation for OMB job applauded

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Beth Cobert’s arrival at the Office of Management and Budget is getting a particularly warm welcome from Steve VanRoekel, the federal chief information officer. In a Twitter message this afternoon, VanRoekel hailed Cobert ‘s confirmation as OMB’s deputy director for management, noting that he can now go back to being “full-time US CIO!” Cobert, who comes from consulting firm McKinsey & Co., was sworn in today, five days after winning Senate confirmation. She replaces Jeff Zients, who stepped down at the end of April; on top of his day job, VanRoekel had been filling in as deputy management director since…

Werfel missed at Senate hearing

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Danny Werfel is just starting his new gig as acting IRS chief, but leaders of a Senate oversight committee are already wishing he were back in his old post as controller of the Office of Management and Budget. Werfel “has demonstrated integrity in everything he’s done in the federal government,” Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, the top Republican on the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, said at a hearing today. “My hope is that he’s  there for a short period of time and back where we can use him in a better way.” “He really has a base of…

Number of empty chairs on Postal Service board increasing

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As the U.S. Postal Service’s problems grow, its governing board is shrinking. The board, which is supposed to have 11 members, currently has eight and will lose another next week when Chairman Thurgood Marshall Jr. steps down, leaving it with just one more body than the six needed for a quorum to conduct business. As of today, however, the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee hasn’t scheduled  confirmation votes on three board nominations that have been awaiting action since summer. In an email, committee spokeswoman Leslie Phillips said she did not know the reason for the delay. Although there have…

Compromise postal bill coming in the Senate

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Some noteworthy news on the postal front: A bipartisan group of senators is unveiling compromise legislation tomorrow that—by one lawmaker’s description—is intended to pull the U.S. Postal Service back “from the brink of financial failure.’ The official release is set for an 11:30 a.m. news conference, featuring four top members of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, which could vote on the bill as early as next week. According to various folks on and off Capitol Hill, one key provision would give the Postal Service some major relief on the “pre-payment” schedule for its retiree health care fund…

Senate panel sets postal hearing for next week

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Game on! The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee just officially announced what is certain to a highly charged hearing next Tuesday afternoon, titled “U.S. Postal Service in Crisis: Proposals to Prevent a Postal Shutdown.” The focus is expected to be the Postal Service’s recently unveiled bid for the freedom to lay off some 120,000 unionized employees, along with creating its own retirement and health insurance programs. No witnesses have been announced yet, but they will presumably include U.S. Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe or a stand-in, as well as labor and mailing industry representatives. Unsurprisingly, all three proposals have…

Divided panel sends Higginbottom nomination to full Senate

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More than most agency chiefs, Office of Management and Budget Director Jack Lew could probably use a trusted number two just now. He may have to wait a while. Although the Senate Budget Committee approved Heather Higginbottom’s nomination for OMB deputy director today, the 11-10 party-line tally bodes poorly for a short and sweet confirmation vote by the full Senate. The panel’s top Republican, Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., has questioned Higginbottom’s bean-counting credentials and, although Sessions hasn’t said that he’ll put a hold on her nomination, he does want “adequate time” for debate, according to CQ.  Not a good sign. Higginbottom…

Homeland Security IG retiring

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Richard Skinner, inspector general for the Department of Homeland Security, is calling it quits after a 42-year government career. In a letter to President Obama released late this afternoon, Skinner said he will retire effective March 1. “I believe the time has come for me to give my full-time attention to my family and personal endeavors,” he wrote. Skinner became the department’s inspector general in July 2005 after two years as its deputy IG. Since 1969, he has worked in IG positions across the government, including the Agriculture, Commerce and Justice Departments, according to a news release. His service at…

Senate panel approves Dodaro nomination

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Gene Dodaro’s nomination to become the next U.S. comptroller general got a green flag Tuesday from the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, which approved it on a unanimous voice vote. The comptroller general runs the Government Accountability Office, the watchdog arm of Congress.  Dodaro, a 37-year GAO veteran, has held the job on an acting basis since March 2008; President Obama nominated him for a full 15-year term in September. The committee’s chairman, Sen. Joseph Lieberman, I-Conn., said recently that that he hopes to win final Senate confirmation for Dodaro’s nomination before lawmakers end their lame-duck session. “We…

Lew faces blockade after picking up second committee endorsement.

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Making it a twofer kind of week for Jacob “Jack” Lew, the Senate Budget Committee voted 22-1 today to confirm him for the job of director of the Office of Management and Budget. But that’s where the good times ended, at least temporarily. Soon after, Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., said she will block a final confirmation vote by the full Senate until the Obama administration drops or makes major changes to its six-month moratorium on deepwater oil and gas drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. The moratorium, in effect since late May, could lead to thousand of job losses in…

Obama picks Dodaro for GAO chief

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After more than two years as acting U.S.  Comptroller General–a job that entails leading the Government Accountability Office-Gene Dodaro got the nod today from President Obama for a long-term appointment to the post. In a release, Obama said he intends to nominate Dodaro, a 37-year GAO veteran, for the position of Comptroller General. Dodaro has held the job on a provisional basis since March 2008; in a statement today, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said that she, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and a bipartisan congressional commission recommended Dodaro for the 15-year appointment. “As the comptroller general, Gene Dodaro…

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