Priorities preview for the newly elected – Leadership/Sequestration?

On GovLoop Insights’ DorobekINSIDER:
  • Finally, there is an online one-stop-shop for human services around the country. Now people who are looking for services ranging from health care support services to food pantries to care for disabled children can type in their zip code and find a range of services in their area within seconds. If finding movie times online is as simple as typing in their zip code, why shouldn't something as important as finding human services be as easy? Click here for the full recap.
Yes, it seems like the election was just days ago. There are two big issues for government. 1.) First is leadership. There will undoubedly be changed. The Washington Post looks at Obama’s changing Cabinet. 2.) And already attention has turned to the challenges ahead -- and for government, that means sequestration. The Wall Street Journal reports, the nation's political leaders promised to try to avoid year-end spending cuts and tax increases that threaten to push the U.S. back into recession. “In carefully worded comments Wednesday, major actors in the fiscal drama were both conciliatory to their adversaries and resolute in sticking to their principles. Whether this represents a temporary truce, or a step toward a pact to trim the deficit, won't be known for weeks. “But the pressure is on. Deep, automatic federal-spending cuts and tax increases—a combination widely known as the "fiscal cliff"—will hit in January unless Mr. Obama and Congress agree to some other way to reduce the budget deficit.” And the Washington Post reports that there could be talks to resolve the situation. Less than 24 hours after the election, President Obama and congressional leaders moved with alacrity Wednesday to show flexibility in solving the nation’s biggest economic problems and recast Washington’s often divisive politics. With a sluggish economy facing major threats, House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) opened the door to increased tax revenue as part of a bipartisan deal to tame the soaring national debt. Republicans are “willing to accept new revenues,” Boehner said, suggesting he is willing to break with the orthodoxy of many influential Republicans out of a desire to “do what’s best for our country.” Mandate or no mandate? The National Journal reports Washington is abuzz with speculation about who emerged from Tuesday's election with a mandate and who did not. But as President Obama and House Republicans prepare to square off over the fiscal cliff, persistence and deft negotiating strategies – not mandates – will be the key to any deal and there is no way to avoid big, messy fights along the way. The SEVEN stories that impact your life
  1. Is there another conference scandal on the horizon? Maybe so. A Congressional probe is looking into  agency conference spending at the White House and the State Department. Chairman of the House Oversight Committee Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) is questioning a 2010 state dinner that President Barack Obama threw for his Mexican counterpart. Issa cited a Washington Examiner article estimating the dinner at nearly $1 million. He mentioned it in a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. Issa said the State Department has not responded to his requests for information on overnight conferences attended by agency staff.
  2. The Agriculture Department is laying the groundwork for BYOD It may be a generational thing. Charles McClam, USDA's deputy chief information officer, says some recent retirements in his shop has given it the opening to look closer at mobile technologies. Federal News Radio says he envisions setting a special mobile division to oversee BYOD. McClam isn't alone. NASA Goddard CIO Adrian Gardner says his BYOD policy will be modeled after the one at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. NOTE: The DorobekINSIDER will be moderating a panel on BYOD hosted by AFCEA Bethesda next week that includes officials from USDA. Get info.
  3. The government has handed out more than $7 billion to help health care providers buy electronic records systems. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services figures show the grants are disbursed throughout the United States. The most money went to providers in California, Florida and Texas. Together those states received more than $2 billion. The money was appropriated in the 2009 stimulus bill. Hospitals and doctors must prove they are using the records systems properly in order to qualify.
  4. Now that President Barack Obama has won a second term, speculation begins on the next foreign-policy leaders. U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice had been a favorite to succeed Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, who is retiring. But Rice might not get confirmed by the Senate. Republicans have criticized her for suggesting an angry, spontaneous mob attacked the Benghazi consulate in September. Obama could make Rice his National Security Advisor without going to the Senate. The Associated Press writes other contenders for the top State position include the current National Security Advisor Tom Donilon or, in a spirit of bipartisanship, former Republican Senator Chuck Hagel or former GOP presidential candidate Jon Huntsman.
  5. FEMA said it was ready to deploy more resources to the Northeast in light of a new storm. The agency already had more than 5,100 people working in areas hard-hit by last week's Hurricane Sandy. With a new coastal storm predicted to last until later today, FEMA said its senior-level experts are standing by. They're working alongside New York and New Jersey emergency managers to ensure clear lines of communication. The agency has brought additional food, water, blankets and generators to distribution points. Meanwhile, tt has increased the amount of rental aide by a quarter. That helps storm survivors pay for shelter and some utilities.
  6. NASA is launching a new service to send Space Station alerts to your phone. Fans of space exploration can sign up for the service, which will send an email or text message when the International Space Station is visible overhead. The Space Station passes over more than 90 percent of the earth's population. And when it is visible, usually at dawn and dusk, it is the brightest object in the sky other than the moon.
  7. And on GovLoop, are you in DC? Sign up for NextGen Plus. NextGen+ is an extension of the OPM approved Next Generation of Government Training Summit that takes place every July. This added half-day training provides sessions that are jam packed with information focused on educating, inspiring and training emerging government leaders to further enhance their day-to-day career and the betterment of government overall. You can sign up here.
A few items from the DorobekINSIDER water-cooler fodder
  • There has been much attention about what pundits got the election prediction right -- and who didn’t. Slate’s Pundit Scorecard: Who Nailed It? Who Missed Big? or ReadWriteWeb looks at Why Nate Silver Won, And Why It Matters.
  • The CIO Journal reports, “Twitter made it through Election Day and night without any service interruptions, despite being socked by a mind-boggling 327,452 tweets per minute as the race was called. The network’s new-found stability can be attributed to not one, but two new data centers, and a decision to shift to a new application framework that is more friendly to traffic from mobile devices. CIOs wondering if their networks can withstand another onslaught of bad weather might also want to consider whether it can support changes in how its users work.
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