Back from the Brink, Feds settle in – Plus the DorobekINSIDER’s 7 Stories

On GovLoop Insights’ DorobekINSIDER:

  • After 16 long days, the government is back to work. Hundreds of thousands of workers returned to their office after three weeks of confusion and worry. However just because government is open for business it doesn't mean things are back to normal. We get insights from Jeff Neal.

But up front: Back to work

Nothing like going up to the last minute. The 16-day government shutdown and the debt ceiling showdown ended late Wednesday night as the Senate, House voted on a measure to fund government into January and resolve deal with the debt ceiling in February. Getting the message out to feds was a bit clunky -- the Office of Personnel Management posted a back-to-work message on OPM.gov, but as of 11a, still had not posted an update -- since Oct. 1. The Office of Management and Budget buried M-14-01, Reopening Departments and Agencies under memos [PDF]. Again, no word on OMB’s Twitter feed. Nor was there notice on the OMB Twitter feed.

Regardless, I think most are happy to be back to work, while worried about what comes early next year.

  • The new budget legislation has a provision for an across the board one percent raise in January for the salaries of federal employees. The Federal Times notes that this will be the first broad pay raise for federal employees since 2010.

  • CNN Money: Federal workers prepare to get back on the job

  • Panetta Slams Senate Deal for Failing to Deal With Defense Cuts: The back-to-work deal does nothing to address the deep military cuts enacted earlier this year. Former

  • The New York Times: Gridlock Has Cost U.S. Billions, and the Meter Is Still Running

  • The Atlantic: Don't Call It a Shutdown: How the Crisis Could Still Come Back to Bite Democrats: By saying the government is closed when most of it actually isn't, good-government advocates risk undermining the public's already meager faith in the state.

  • The Atlantic: The Greatest Risk to the U.S. Economy Is Still the People in Charge Of It: The recession gave us a lost decade. Congress added a lost year. The budget wars since 2010 have cost us 12 months in job creation.  

  • Politico: Vice President Joe Biden greets EPA workers with muffins as they return to work


And because we also need to laugh about what has been going on...

  • Slate: 11 things we could have bought for less than the cost of the shutdown including 15 footlong subs for every American

  • And the surreal: During The Vote, A House Stenographer Was Removed From The Chamber After Screaming About Freemasons Read more:

  • And yes, the National Zoo’s PandaCam is back to work too


Some of the better tweets I have seen about getting back to work:

The SEVEN stories that impact your life

  1. President Obama has signed into law a bipartisan budget deal, effectively ending the government shutdown and suspending the national debt ceiling until February 7, 2014. The Federal Times reports that ultimately the legislation is a stopgap measure that will fund the government until January 15.  

  2. Back pay for federal employees that were furloughed or worked without pay is guaranteed under the new budget deal and should be reflected in employees’ next regularly scheduled paychecks on or around October 25. Federal News Radio states that the National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU) is attempting to get approval for an interim paycheck for employees to make up for lost income during the shutdown. The NTEU prefers this method to having employees wait until October 25. “Excepted” employees that remained on the job throughout the shutdown are eligible for overtime and holiday premium pay.   

  3. Language granting Pentagon officials the flexibility to determine what gets cut in the upcoming round of sequestration--due to begin on January 15--has not been included in the new budget deal approved by Congress and signed by the President. The Federal Times reports that Senate leaders had considered inserting sequestration-flexibility language into the bill, but ultimately left it out.   

  4. Federal government agencies will spend less over the next decade on information technology due to budget cuts and limitations according to a survey by the TechAmerica Foundation. Federal News Radio states that the result will be a decrease in the government’s ability to meet the needs of citizens and businesses in upcoming years. Moreover, the lack of growth in federal IT expenditures will hurt prospects for government contractors.  

  5. Documents made available to the Washington Post by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden reveal how the NSA and CIA have collaborated to implement the administration’s counterterrorism strategy, which includes an ongoing drone campaign and targeted killing program. The Washington Post reports that from these documents, they have learned how the intelligence community was able to track and later eliminate Hassan Ghul, an associate of Osama bin Laden who assisted the CIA in its efforts to find the al-Qaeda leader. Ghul was reportedly killed by a drone strike in Pakistan.

  6. Mocana, a leader in app security, has removed the Dual Elliptic Curve Deterministic Random Bit Generator (Dual_EC_DRBG) algorithm from its NanoCrypto embedded security engine software due to the recent discovery that the algorithm has a security weakness. Mocana reports that this vulnerability could allow U.S. intelligence agencies to easily decode communications secured by the algorithm. The National Institute of Standards and Technology, a previous endorser of the Dual_EC_DRBG algorithm, has warned against using it until scientists are able to fully determine the extent of the algorithm’s vulnerabilities.  

  7. The director of the U.S. National Security Agency and his deputy are expected to depart in the coming months, U.S. officials said on Wednesday, in a development that could give President Barack Obama a chance to reshape the eavesdropping agency, reports Reuters.

DorobekINSIDER water-cooler fodder

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