Browsing: Susan Collins

Shutdown Watch–Day 12. More talk, no deal.

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Good morning! It’s another working (cue the snarky comments) weekend for members of Congress as news accounts describe lots of talking but no consensus on how to end the partial government shutdown and raise the nation’s debt ceiling in time to avoid default as early as next week. Attention is now focused on the Senate, where Sens. Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Joe Manchin, D-W.V., are working on legislation that would fund government through the end of March. Sequester-related cuts would continue, but agencies would have more flexibility in apportioning them, according to details reported by McClatchy. The plan would also raise the borrowing…

Proposed federal workers' comp changes; what's your take?

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On Capitol Hill, members of Congress have had plenty to say about alleged abuse of the federal workers’ compensation program. Ricky Cook would like to offer a different view. “I’m very upset at the perception that everybody who’s on workman’s compensation is abusing it,” Cook, a Federal Aviation Administration employee in the Kansas City, Kansas area, said in a phone interview this week. “That’s just not the case.” Cook, who had been an air traffic control supervisor, suffered lasting spinal damage in an on-the-job accident in 2007. He was out of work for almost two years. Although the FAA eventually…

Sen. Collins' speech on the Postal Service

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Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, drew plenty of attention last week for her speech on postal issues. Since news outlets couldn’t excerpt much more than a fraction of what she said, FedLine thought it might be worthwhile to post the entire address, both as prepared and as Collins actually delivered it on the Senate floor, according to materials provided by her office. The first version is on the left; the second on the right. SENATOR COLLINS CALLS FOR BIPARTISAN POSTAL REFORM   WASHINGTON – – U.S. Senator Susan Collins today, from the Senate floor, outlined the importance of the bipartisan postal reform…

Senate could take up postal bill next week

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The wind-up has taken a while, but the full Senate might–just might–pitch into a major debate on postal issues next week. Earlier today, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., introduced a motion that would allow senators to take up the bill, known as the 21st Century Postal Service Act, as early as Monday. Although everything in the Senate (and we mean everything) is subject to change, Reid presumably wouldn’t have proceeded without some chance of having the votes to kick off debate. At the same time, it’s worth noting that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., isn’t commenting. Lawmakers could also have…

Sen. Susan Collins faults the Postal Service (and the Postmaster General)

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Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, took to the Senate floor today to blast the U.S. Postal Service. That in itself was not surprising; many members of Congress are unhappy with the agency’s recently unveiled plans to close or consolidate more than 220 mail processing plants. What’s noteworthy is not so much what Collins said, but how she said it—criticizing Postmaster General Pat Donahoe in sharply personal terms, according to a transcript released by her office. “I find myself in a quandary, one created by the Postmaster General himself as he shifts from plan to plan, from negotiation to negotiation,” Collins concluded.…

Lawmakers blast proposed mail plant closings, but what next?

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Members of Congress were quick to weigh in on the U.S. Postal Service’s downsizing plans Thursday. And for the most part, they were not happy. “This plan makes no sense at all and should be abandoned,” argued Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, where a mail processing plant is slated to close. Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe is “barreling ahead to implement drastic cost-cutting measures” before regulators give their views, objected Sen. Joe Lieberman, an independent from Connecticut, which would lose two of its three plants to those measures. The Postal Service “should focus on common sense solutions that improve its fiscal solvency” instead of putting…

Senators press for "improvements" to postal bill

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The Senate has yet to begin a formal debate over a proposed postal overhaul, but the jawboning is already well under way. The latest development: 27 senators led by Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., wrote the bill’s sponsors today urging them to consider some “significant improvements.”  Such as  protection for rural post offices; barring the U.S. Postal Service from a change in delivery service standards that could lead to the closing of up to 252 mail processing plants; and requiring the continuation of six-day-a-week mail delivery for at least another four years. They also call for creation of a blue-ribbon commission that…

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.”…

FPS reform bill introduced

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Don’t expect much to happen in this year’s fast dwindling congressional session,  but a bi-partisan group of senators today introduced legislation to bolster the Federal Protective Service, responsible for security at some 9,000 federal buildings. The bill would push FPS to hire 500 more full-time employees over the next four years, require the agency to do more to ensure the competence of contract guards, and mandate standards for checkpoint detection technologies for explosives and other threats at federal facilities, according to a news release from Sen. Joseph Lieberman, I-Conn., the chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.…

Government cyber-takeover?

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Wired magazine reported today that a new bill from Joe Lieberman and Susan Collins, currently in draft form, would give the government broad powers to take over responsibility for civilian networks in case of an “imminent cyber threat.” It’s commendable that legislators are thinking about private networks while making contingency plans for a massive cyber attack. Protecting government IT systems isn’t enough — the vast majority of the country’s infrastructure in this area lies in private hands. From the Wired report: “These emergency measures are supposed to remain in place for no more than 30 days. But they can be…