Could Agencies Have Spending Bills Soon? Plus the DorobekINSIDER’s 7 Stories

On GovLoop Insights’ DorobekINSIDER:

  • 85% of government contractors saw either flat or declining budgets in 2013. That staggering statistic is from a new study from Lohfeld Consulting. We find out what contributed to the decline and how contractors can adapt in 2014 with the Lohfeld CEO. 

But up front: Could agencies have spending bills soon?

  • GovExec: Lawmakers Nearing Deal on Appropriations. Congressional appropriators are very close to finishing a deal that would set the funding levels for each federal agency, according to multiple reports and lawmakers involved in negotiations. Vincent Morris, a spokesman for Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., chairwoman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, told reporters Monday that negotiators “hope to arrive at an agreement this week.” Senate and House lawmakers were hard at work while Congress was on recess, and they “made a lot of progress over the holidays,” Morris added. Lawmakers have until Jan. 15 -- when the current continuing resolution expires -- to reach a deal. Mikulski, and her House counterpart Rep. Hal Rogers, R-Ky., are trying to pass 12 separate bills collectively in an omnibus package that will mandate spending levels across government for the remainder of fiscal 2014.

The SEVEN headline stories that impact your life 

  1. The Washington Post: Hoyer expects, but can’t promise, no federal employee furloughs in 2014. Rep. Steny Hoyer says agency budgets are tight, but he plans to seek a pay hike for wage-grade federal employees.
  2. Bloomberg News: Congress Makes NASA Finish Useless $350 Million Structure. NASA is completing a $350 million rocket engine testing stand at Stennis Space Center and then plans to mothball it because it has no useful purpose.
  3. Federal News Radio: GSA losing four key senior executives. They include CIO Casey Coleman, who is joining AT&T; GSA Deputy Administrator Susan Brita will retire March 14 after more than 30 years of government service; Sheila Campbell, GSA's director of the Center for Excellence in Digital Government in the Office of Citizen Services and Innovative Technologies, who is leaving to join the Peace Corps as its director for strategic and digital integration; and Kelly Olson, director of strategic initiatives and outreach in the Office of Citizen Services and Innovative Technologies, who will be joining Atlantic Media’s Government Executive to lead events.
  4. FCW: IG nominee faces 'warring camps' at DHS. John Roth, President Barack Obama's pick to fill the vacant inspector general post at the Department of Homeland Security, is set to take the reins in a house divided, according to senators who quizzed him at a Jan. 8 confirmation hearing.
  5. Federal Times: Air Force seeks mobile security innovations. The Air Force is looking for innovative ways to secure smartphones and tablet computers without diminishing the devices’ nifty features and apps.
  6. NextGov:  NIST PAID $16,500 FOR SPACE AT NOW-BOYCOTTED RSA CONFERENCE. The National Institute of Standards and Technology purchased a $16,500 booth at an RSA event that technologists are pulling out of in protest of the encryption company’s alleged deal with the National Security Agency to weaken products using a NIST-approved trapdoor.
  7. Federal Times: GAO knocks down OASIS protest. The Government Accountability Office has shot down a protest to the General Service’s Administration 10-year, multibillion dollar OASIS contract.

DorobekINSIDER water-cooler fodder

  • Bulletin of the Atomic Scientist: Are new technologies undermining the laws of war? Today, emerging military technologies — including unmanned aerial vehicles, directed-energy weapons, lethal autonomous robots, and cyber weapons — raise the prospect of upheavals in military practice so fundamental that they challenge assumptions underlying long-established international laws of war, particularly those relating to the primacy of the state and the geographic bounds of warfare. But the laws of war have been developed over a long period, with commentary and input from many cultures. - Slashdo
  • The New York Times: A Makeover for Maps. Maps and Charts Take New Forms as Data Floods In. With people uploading all kinds of data about the economy, weather and even their favorite sweaters, designers are straining for new ways to express information. 
  • Mashable: Mashable's Best Tech of CES 2014 
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