Shutdown Countdown 5 Days – Plus the DorobekINSIDER’s 7 Stories

On GovLoop Insights’ DorobekINSIDER:

GovLoop’s DorobekINSIDER shutdown reader -- what you need to know about budgets, shutdown, the debt fight -- and what it means to you.

  • Washington Post: By agency - the impact of a #govshutdown 
  • Federal Times: Agencies notify employees about shutdown effects
  • Federal Times: Boehner sends mixed messages on shutdown
  • House Republicans explore strategy to avoid federal government shutdown--With federal agencies set to close their doors in five days, House Republicans began exploring a potential detour on the path to a shutdown: shifting the fight over President Obama’s health-care law to a separate bill that would raise the nation's debt limit. If it works, the strategy could clear the way for the House to approve a simple measure to keep the government open into the new fiscal year, which will begin Tuesday, without hotly contested provisions to defund the Affordable Care Act - reports the Washington Post. 
  • Politico: Senators reach deal to speed up CR vote. Senators struck a deal on Wednesday night to accelerate consideration of the House-passed government spending bill, increasing the chances that a government shutdown can be averted. 
  • Defense One: A Government Shutdown Would Be Worse for DoD Than It Was in 1995
  • The Pentagon could shed 60,000 more troops than it already plans to cut, if it could also fire 50,000 more civilians, according to a new study released by the Stimson Center think tank, the Associated Press reports. The panel conducting the study included two former vice chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The report calls for $50 billion in budget cuts now to replace the yearly sequester cuts scheduled for the next eight years. The biggest proposed saving — $22.4 billion in the fiscal year starting October next year — would come in cutting overhead such as civilian employees, headquarters staff and contractors as well as reforming pension and health programs, the report said. - Federal News Radio.
  • Federal News Radio: Shutdown Roulette 
  • During a government shutdown, troops might not get a mid-October paycheck, says Rep. Bill Young, R-Fla., Military Times reports. Troops would earn the pay but have to wait until appropriations became available. Young says the shutdown would delay other aspects of military life, including travel, permanent moves and family death benefits. There is less than one week to go before a potential partial government shutdown. On Friday, the House of Representatives passed a 76-day funding bill that would keep the government running from Oct. 1, the start of fiscal 2014, until Dec. 15.
  • The Hill: 'Don't shut down diplomacy,' State Department employees urge 

The SEVEN stories that impact your life

  1. The U.S. Postal Service has made $1.3 billion in non-competitive purchases over the past couple of years, sixteen percent (about $210 million) of which lacked documentation to justify the use of a sole-supplier approach. The Federal Times notes that in light of this revelation, USPS managers are unable to prove that they obtained the best pricing for their purchases. Even so, the USPS is standing behind its management of these projects. 
  2. Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton Carter is questioning whether or not security clearance investigations should be handled by contractors or government officials. This quandary, according to Carter, applies to more than DOD clearance practices. The Federal Times reports that in addition to Carter, the White House and Navy are analyzing potential changes to security clearance investigation policies in the aftermath of the Navy Yard shooting. 
  3. The National Institute of Standards and Technology is almost done with the nation’s first cybersecurity framework for protecting critical infrastructure. According to NIST officials, the document is nearly finished and should be ready for release on its due date in a few weeks. Federal News Radio reports that the document contains guidelines for private tech companies to ensure that their infrastructure operators meet government cybersecurity standards.  
  4. The Associated Press is pushing Congress to approve legislation that will require the Justice Department to inform a media source, such as AP, of an upcoming records subpoena so that the organization has the opportunity to object in federal court. The Washington Post states that the AP’s legislative efforts are in response to the recent subpoena of its telephone toll records by the Justice Department to identify the source of a leak in information related to a CIA operation in Yemen.   
  5. Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO) has asked the head of the GAO to review whether the bonuses given to SES employees involved in contract management have effectively lowered contract costs and improved employee performance. Sen. McCaskill states that there is evidence that these bonuses are being given on a more routine basis, instead of as a reward for good performance. Federal News Radio reports that this is not the first time that Sen. McCaskill has opposed SES bonuses. She also introduced legislation in May to eliminate all SES bonuses while sequestration-related budget cuts are in effect.  
  6. Army General Keith B. Alexander announced yesterday that the headquarters and troops for the Cyber National Mission Force are active and ready. Representing one of three teams responsible for addressing a cyber attack on the country, the Defense Department states that the Cyber National Mission Force will also be working with the NSA to ensure U.S. cybersecurity.  
  7. The incorporation of big data technologies into government are helping government officials to make significant advancements in the following areas: security and fraud prevention; service delivery and emergency responsiveness; and civic engagement and information sharing. FCW discusses the impact of big data on government in greater detail, emphasizing that in the near future big data will increase collaboration between citizens, government officials, and the private sector.   

DorobekINSIDER water-cooler fodder

  • NextGov: How Agencies Bury Noncompetitive Procurements 
  • GovExec: What Obama Can Learn About Leadership From the Pope
  • BlackBerry smartphones still reign in Washington, the slow-poke capital--The snail’s pace of change in Washington has hurt the popularity of political leaders. But for BlackBerry, the federal government’s tendency to move slowly may provide some hope. That’s because the federal government is BlackBerry’s biggest customer, and even as the rest of the world dumps the firm’s smartphone for Samsung Galaxys and iPhones, the app-deprived BlackBerry remains a Washington stalwart.

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