On today’s program for Monday May 21st, 2012
- The TSA is up against an almost impossible task -- protecting more than 2 million travelers each day -- but are they up for the task? We talk to the former TSA administrator Kip Hawley.
- To get the best talent -- you need to match google, pixar’s and apple’s community culture.
The chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has announced he is stepping down after eight years with that organization. Gregory B. Jaczko that he will step down when a successor is confirmed.
On Friday we spoke with Stan Collendar of Qorvis about the budget challenges in the year ahead, and the uncertainty. As a demonstration of that, the White House is saying that they won’t agree to a debt deal that doesn’t address revenues -- raise taxes. The New York Times reports that both sides are drawing lines in the sand, suggesting a potential replay of their damaging showdown over the debt ceiling last summer.
The SEVEN stories that impact your life for Monday the 21st th of May, 2012
- Despite a threat of veto from the White House the House has cleared a more than six hundred billion dollar defense budget blueprint. The authorization bill is for 2013 and includes more than a half trillion dollars for the Pentagon's base budget. Federal News Radio says the bill also includes an $88 billion for the war in Afghanistan and counterterrorism. But the bill might not get far. The president has threatened to veto if the bill goes above spending limits Congress and the White House set last summer.
- Included in the House approved Defense Authorization bill is a military pay raise. The bill would give military personnel a 1.7 percent pay raise in 2013, as well as limiting increases to certain prescription drug co-pays under the TRICARE program. Government Executive says the Defense authorization legislation rejects the Obama administration’s recommendations to raise premiums for military retirees based on their retirement pay, among other fee hikes.
- The Postal Service needs more money, but it may not come from federal customers. The General Services Administration is asking agencies to be frugal when it comes to mail. A new GSA bulletin encouraged agencies to use the Postal Service's flat-rate boxes and envelopes, schedule mail in advance to take advantage of USPS discounts and go electronic whenever possible. Federal News Radio says the executive order is geared toward making agencies less wasteful, more efficient and more green prompted the bulletin.
- The Obama administration wants to hire more than 20,000 people ages 15-25 for summer jobs in national parks, national forests, wildlife refuges and other public lands. Government Executive says 12,000 people will work for the Interior Department and 8,000 will work for the Forest Service within the Agriculture Department. This is a 35% increase in hiring from 2009.
- The current military body armour isn’t protecting women the way it should be -- its too big and doesn’t fit their curves. The Washington Post reports, the House Armed Services Committee has directed the Secretary of the Army to conduct an assessment of whether there’s an “operational need” for gear tailored to women....and in their 2013 Defense Authorization Act they’ve alloted 15 million dollars to develop better gear.
- You might not have your fiscal 2013 budget passed yet but the White House and the Office of Management and budget want you thinking about 2014. Federal Computer Week says OMB is asking agencies to report their most innovative uses of evidence and evaluation when they draft their new budget blueprints. Plans that demonstrate a strong commitment to the development and use of evidence are more likely to receive funding.
- And over on GovLoop, we asking you -- how do you handle the government - contractor relationship. There are pressures on both sides of the aisle. So how do you improve that relationship while still achieving the best possible outcome? GovLoop member Margaret Sarro says the entire relationship comes down to one-on-one personal connections.
- The sophistication of congressional speech-making is on the decline. That according to the open government group the Sunlight Foundation. NPR reports the analysis of congressional speech found that lawmakers talk like 10th graders -- and that’s a drop of a full grade. The Sunlight Foundation's graphic is to the below. Click on the image to enlarge it
- The American Community Survey is a target of Republican cost cutters. The New York Times reports that the American Community Survey may be the most important government function you’ve never heard of, and it’s in trouble. This survey of American households has been around in some form since 1850, either as a longer version of or a richer supplement to the basic decennial census. It tells Americans how poor we are, how rich we are, who is suffering, who is thriving, where people work, what kind of training people need to get jobs, what languages people speak, who uses food stamps, who has access to health care, and so on. It is, more or less, the country’s primary check for determining how well the government is doing -- and in fact what the government will be doing. The survey’s findings help determine how over $400 billion in government funds is distributed each year. But last week, the Republican-led House voted to eliminate the survey altogether, on the grounds that the government should not be butting its nose into Americans’ homes.