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

On GovLoop Insights’ DorobekINSIDER:

  • 7 days. That's how long the government has before it runs out of money. Depending on which article you read, the Congress is either preparing a last minute stopgap sending measure to avert the shutdown or the political divide is too great and a shutdown is inevitable. If that is the case, it would be the first government shutdown since 1995. Either way, agencies are taking steps to prepare. We find four ways to help.

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

  • Politico: Obama, Congress meeting after Senate CR action

  • Politico: Senate kicks off shutdown saga: Senate Democratic leaders may only keep the government open for less than two months as part of a deal to end the latest fiscal crisis now consuming Washington, sources said Monday  

  • Washington Post Shutdown Countdown: What the next eight days could bring

  • Washington Post:  Wondering about a government shutdown? First thing to know: It all won’t disappear.

  • Washington Post:  After past shutdowns Congress gave federal workers back pay. This time? Don’t count on it.—A government shutdown next week would jeopardize the paychecks of more than 800,000 federal workers who could be told to stay home. More than 2 million other employees who are deemed essential by the government — including the active military — would be entitled to their salaries but might not get paid on time.

  • Defense One: Pentagon Prepares for Government Shutdown

  • Reuters: Failure to raise U.S. debt limit worse than government shutdown

  • Wonkblog by Ezra Klein: There’s much less time to avoid a government shutdown than you think

  • Slate Magazine: Bring It On: A government shutdown over Obamacare would be annoying, but the alternative is worse

The SEVEN stories that impact your life

  1. Navy Secretary Ray Mabus has issued recommendations concerning the improvement of security clearance investigations in the aftermath of the Navy Yard shootings last week. Military.com reports that he has shared his recommendations with Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, the greatest of which is OPM’s incorporation of any available police documentation into security clearance reports.

  2. Former FBI agent, Donald John Sachtleben, has plead guilty to disclosing national defense information to the Associated Press. The Washington Post reports that Sachtleben informed the Associated Press of a disrupted terrorist plot by the Yemen-based terrorist organization, al-Qaeda, to bring down a civilian airliner headed for the U.S. Sachtleben is facing more than 15 years in prison for national security violations and other offenses.  

  3. Lois Lerner, a key figure in the IRS tea party scandal, resigned yesterday just as an internal review board was preparing to call for her removal on the basis of her “neglect of duties.” The Washington Post states that it is uncertain whether or not Lerner will qualify for a federal pension or retirement benefits, but that the IRS is calling her departure a “retirement.” Despite her resignation, Politico reports that Lerner will remain at the center of three congressional investigations into the IRS’ political targeting scandals.  

  4. Loans and hardship withdrawals by Thrift Savings Plan participants have fallen in the past month due to agencies reducing their number of furlough days. Reaching 44,000 in July, loans and withdrawals dropped to 38,900 by August. The Federal Times reports that for 2013 the total number of loans and withdrawals thus far equals 290,500, which is roughly equal to the number for last year.    

  5. The Navy has revealed that Aaron Alexis, the shooter at the Navy Yard last week, lied about a previous arrest in 2004 when applying for his security clearance. During the application process, Alexis also failed to disclose the thousands of dollars in debts that he owed. Federal News Radio reports that investigators dismissed these omissions and also failed to report Alexis’ use of a gun in his 2004 arrest. All of these factors enabled Alexis to obtain a security clearance that granted him access to secure facilities at the Navy Yard last week.   

  6. The General Services Administration is transforming the workspace inside its headquarters in Washington, DC to boost employee collaboration and bring a look of modernity to its offices. Federal News Radio reports that the organization has done away with cube farms and private offices and has instead created open working spaces and has employees using software to reserve desks and conference rooms.

  7. The National Institute of Standards and Technology is developing a scale to measure and predict the destructiveness of wildfires. Known as the Wildland Urban Interface Hazard Scale, this tool will help city planners to better determine appropriate building codes for homes in fire-prone areas. Federal News Radio adds that the mechanism will also improve federal researchers’ understanding of how certain homes contribute to the spread of wildfires.    

DorobekINSIDER water-cooler fodder

  • In Supreme Court opinions, Web links that go nowhere. Almost half of the hyperlinks appearing in online U.S. Supreme Court decisions don’t work, reports the NYT’s Adam Liptak. Some legal experts are troubled by how legal sources used to help guide justices in their legal thinking have drifted from tangible, static objects (i.e. books) to the ephemeral Web. “It is disturbing that even at the Supreme Court, where creating and citing precedent is of the utmost importance, citations often fail to point the researcher to the authority on which the court based its decision,” Raizel Liebler and June Liebert, librarians at the John Marshall Law School in Chicago, wrote in a recent report. Since 1996, the justices have cited Internet links 555 times - New York Times.

  • FDA updates guidance on mobile-software apps. Mobile-software apps for medical uses would face differing rules depending on whether the apps attempt to diagnose an illness or simply help patients manage their weight or health status, under a new proposal, the WSJ reports. The FDA said it plans to regulate any mobile apps that use a sensor or lead to measure heart electrical signals, to analyze eye movements in the diagnosis of balance disorders or to measure tremors linked to certain diseases. The agency said it generally wouldn’t scrutinize lower-risk apps, even if they may theoretically meet the definition of a medical device - Wall Street Journal.

  • Apple Sells 9m iPhones Over Debut Weekend - Wall Street Journal.

  • Should Government Censor Social Media? - GovTech News.

*Photo via michael lorenzo

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